Protect Yourself from Attractive Nuisance Injuries on Your Property
Children are attracted to things that can hurt them: tunnels, swimming pools, construction sites, stairs, and much more. It is that desire to investigate dangerous things that inspired attractive nuisance laws, which help to protect children from their own curiosity.
An attractive nuisance is an object, structure, or condition that is appealing to children but that can also threaten them with harm. Under these laws, a property owner can be held responsible if a child is injured on the property and these conditions are met:
- The owner knows – or should know – that children are likely to be drawn to the property
- The object, structure, or condition has the potential to cause death or serious harm to children
- The children involved are too young to understand the risk presented
- The benefit of maintaining the condition or cost required to fix the condition is minimal compared to the risk to children
- The owner fails to take reasonable measures to eliminate the danger posed by the condition.
Many courts require that the object be man-made and require maintenance. For example, swimming pools and fountains are often considered attractive nuisances, but lakes and ponds are not. Other common examples of attractive nuisances are machinery (mowers, construction equipment, etc.) wells and tunnels, and dangerous animals.
Property owners can take precautions to protect themselves from attractive nuisance lawsuits if they take action to prevent injuries. If you can list the steps you took to prevent injury (removing keys from construction equipment, or locking a fence around a pool), you can often satisfy the court. Insurance companies can offer advice on protecting yourself against attractive nuisances.
If a child has been hurt on your property, or if your child has been injured by an attractive nuisance on someone else’s property, contact us today to discuss your case.Check out other articles by Lepley, Engelman, Yaw & Wilk