Children are, by nature, very curious creatures. Children also don’t have the safety awareness and good judgment that adults have. That is why special rules apply when a child has been injured on someone else’s property. If a child’s curiosity puts them in a position where they can become injured, as a society, we have a duty to protect them. Under the law of premises liability, there is the doctrine of “attractive nuisance,” which has been put in place because children are not expected to behave as adults do.
Generally, people who enter another person’s property without permission are considered trespassers. Trespassers are given very little protection when they are injured on someone’s property. However, the attractive nuisance doctrine is an exception to this policy regarding trespassers. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, property owners are held to a standard of protecting children from dangerous conditions on the property, even if the children are trespassers. Under this doctrine, a property owner may be liable for injuries to child trespassers on their property if:
- The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on the property where a child may trespass
- The dangerous condition should be known to pose an unreasonable risk to a child
- The child, because of their age, does not realize the risk the dangerous condition poses
- The burden of eliminating the dangerous condition is less than the risk to the child
- The owner of the property fails to act with reasonable care to remove the danger to the child
Examples of Attractive Nuisances
Attractive nuisances can come in many forms, but there are some common situations where an attractive nuisance exists:
- Unfenced swimming pools
- Manmade ponds
- Abandoned cars
- Abandoned construction equipment
- Construction materials
- Holes in the ground
- Discarded appliances
A property owner should be able to foresee when a child may want to trespass on their property. They have a higher duty to protect children from artificial conditions that have been created.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney
If your child has been injured on someone else’s property, you should consult with an experienced premises liability attorney. For over 50 years, Bonina & Bonina, P.C. have been helping the injured. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.