Children are inherently curious and constantly explore and investigate their environment, especially when the wonders that surround them are particularly alluring. Unfortunately, sometimes their exploratory nature can lead to trouble, resulting in injuries. Generally, trespassers are not owed a duty of care by property owners and, therefore, they cannot obtain compensation for injuries they sustain while trespassing another person’s property. Children, on the other hand, are owed a duty of care in some cases.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
An attractive nuisance is essentially a manmade feature on someone’s property that might be tempting for children and could result in injuries. For example, a swimming pool is a manmade feature that might lead to drowning if insufficiently protected.
To prove a case like this, you must show the following:
- The property owner knew or should have known that children would trespass the property
- The property owner knew or should have known there was an unreasonably dangerous condition on the property that could result in bodily harm or death
- Children would not understand the risks posed by the property’s dangerous condition
- The burden of eliminating the dangerous condition or maintaining it is less than the risk it poses to children
- The property owner did not reasonably care for or maintain safe conditions on the property
Additionally, the court will take into account the intellectual ability and age of the injured child when determining if he or she was able to understand the risks and if the property owner reasonably maintained the property. If a property owner posts a “Do Not Enter” sign, for example, this would be an adequate warning for a teenager, but it would not be enough for a child who is still unable to read.
Examples of Attractive Nuisances
As a general rule, attractive nuisances do not include features that were not manmade. For example, a lake or a pond would likely not be considered an attractive nuisance, but a swimming pool would.
Here are some more examples of attractive nuisances:
- Dangerous animals
Even less obvious features can become attractive nuisances. For example, if children in the neighborhood are known to climb rooftops and a property owner did not take any precautions to make theirs less accessible, it might be considered an attractive nuisance.
Discuss Your Case with a Knowledgeable Premises Liability Attorney Today!
If your child sustained injuries on someone else’s property as a result of an attractive nuisance, you need an experienced premises liability attorney on your side to ensure the responsible party is held accountable for your child’s suffering. At Tabor Law Firm, LLP, our premises liability team is backed by more than a century’s worth of combined legal experience, which we will use to your family’s advantage. When you choose to work with us, you will receive the assistance of a law firm that has the insight and knowledge to effectively represent you.
Contact our law firm today at (317) 236-9000 to arrange a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you during this difficult time.