Children are injured and worse every year on private property belonging to others because they’re “lured” in by what’s known as an attractive nuisance. These are potentially dangerous design elements or objects that appeal to children and sometimes teens so much so that they disregard their own safety and cross boundaries to get to them.
Property owners can be liable for harm caused by an attractive nuisance — especially if the person harmed is a young child. That’s true even if they were trespassing. The reasoning is that young children don’t have the judgment or knowledge to stay off someone else’s property.
A property owner can be typically be held liable for harm under attractive nuisance laws if their property contains a potentially dangerous condition that they created and maintained, and they should have known that it would attract and could harm children. Following are some common examples of attractive nuisances:
- Water features, including pools, fountains and wells
- Playground equipment, as well as things like trampolines and tree houses
- Construction projects, which often contain piles of lumber, ladders, tools, electrical hazards, piles of sand and gravel and other dangers
- Junk, including old appliances and cars
Property owners have a responsibility to ensure that anything that could attract children and cause harm is not accessible to them — even if they have no right to be on the property. Insurance companies can advise homeowners and other property owners about how to do this.
If your child has been injured by an attractive nuisance on someone else’s property, whether they had permission to be there or not, it’s essential to find out whether you have the right to hold the property owner liable. An experienced attorney can advise you and work to seek the compensation you deserve.