What is an Attractive Nuisance?

What is an Attractive Nuisance?

Normally, premises liability laws relieve a landowner of any liability for injuries sustained by those who have trespassed on the property. However, an exception to this rule exists in the attractive nuisance doctrine. According to this legislation, an owner may be held responsible if a child is injured on the property through certain conditions, even if the child is trespassing.

Underage children are often not capable of understanding the risks involved in certain situations, so they may wander into a dangerous situation if certain precautions are not taken. Landowners are expected to protect children who may trespass from any known hazards, and they must not entice children into a dangerous situation through alluring items or displays.

For instance, construction sites may attract children to explore, as they present an interesting environment. The managers and supervisors of the site must take adequate precautions to protect any children who may trespass, including locking up any dangerous tools. If a child were able to sneak onto the site and easily be harmed, the site may be held liable.

Determining liability for attractive nuisance claims involves establishing five principals:

  • The landowner knows (or should know) that children are likely to trespass on the property.
    • This is inherent in some locations, such as pools, railroads, construction sites, and other areas that are intriguing to children. In some situations the landowner may be aware that children have been trespassing, such as signs of entry, food wrappers, etc.
  • The condition on the property has the potential to cause death or serious bodily harm to children.
  • The children involved are too young or inexperienced to understand the risk presented by the condition.
  • The benefit of maintaining the condition or the cost required to remedy the condition is minimal compared with the risk to children.
  • The landowner fails to take reasonable measures to eliminate the danger posed by the condition.

Landowners are not obligated to eliminate any possibility of injury whatsoever. The doctrine states that they are exempt from taking excessive measures that would create a serious burden or difficulty for the landowner or operation on the site, but reasonable precautions must be taken to protect trespassing children.

If your child has been injured while on another’s property, that does not immediately eliminate the possibility of compensation. If negligence at the place of the injury lead to an accident or proper precautions were not taken, you may have grounds for a claim. The attorneys of Liggett Law Group can review the details of your situation and help you determine who is liable for your child’s injuries.