Children are naturally curious, reckless, and prone to courting danger. Some, in fact, carelessly throw their bodies at the world, not realizing that they’ve let their safety net (mom and dad) back at home. Unfortunately, this predisposition for reckless adventure and exploration can get them into quite a bit of trouble, especially if they meander onto someone’s property and the premises is unsafe for children. If there is a feature on a landowner’s property that is particularly attractive or alluring, such as a swimming pool, abandoned automobile, or trampoline, a child may feel compelled to investigate it and subsequently sustain severe injuries. In the field of personal injury, this scenario falls under the “attractive nuisance doctrine.”
The most common attractive nuisances include:
- Swimming pools
- Manmade fountains and ponds
- Fake trees
- Playground equipment
- Skateboard ramps
Premises Liability & the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
The attractive nuisance doctrine seeks to protect children who may not realize the risks associated with a certain object or attraction. As such, it is a form of premises liability, a legal construct that seeks to protect individuals – in this case, children – who were injured due to the negligent actions or choices of a property owner. Unlike children, landowners can and should recognize the potential hazards that exist on their property, particularly those that may appeal to children.
If your child has been harmed on another person’s property, you may be able to recover compensation that covers their medical costs and other injury-related expenses. That being said, you need to prove 5 critical facts for the attractive nuisance doctrine to apply to your case:
- The property owner knew or should have known that children were likely to access or trespass on their property to see the attractive object.
- The injured child is too young to recognize the risk posed by the dangerous condition in that particular environment.
- The property owner failed to care for their property, which in turn created unsafe elements that could harm anyone accessing the grounds.
- The landowner knew, or should have known, that there was an unreasonably dangerous condition on their property, and failed to take the necessary precautions to remedy any hazardous elements.
- The cost of maintaining, fixing, or addressing the condition is minor compared to the risk it ultimately poses to children.
A landowner can avoid an attractive nuisance lawsuit and protect neighboring children by taking certain precautions to ensure their property is reasonably safe for any youthful trespassers. This could involve repairing a fence, filling holes in the ground, and so on.
Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney Today!
If your child was injured after exploring someone else’s property, you might have grounds to file a premises liability claim. A successful lawsuit can yield compensation that covers your child’s ongoing medical expenses. To learn more about your legal options, contact the premises liability lawyers at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC.
Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.