By nature, children are curious, and at times their curiosity can get the better of them. Children may go places or try things that an adult would avoid because of potential dangers. Sometimes this curiosity can put children in a position where they are seriously injured. Children are not expected to behave as adults do, which is why under New York premises liability law, there is the doctrine of “attractive nuisance.”
What is the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine?
Generally, those who enter another person’s property are considered trespassers and are given little protection if they are injured on the property. The attractive nuisance doctrine holds property owners to a standard of care to protect children from dangerous conditions on their property, even if those children are trespassing. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a property owner can be liable for injuries to children trespassing on their property if the injury is a caused by an artificial dangerous object or condition on the property that is likely to attract children who aren’t capable of understanding the hazards associated with the object or condition.
Examples of Attractive Nuisances
A property owner should be able to foresee that children will want to enter the property when certain “attractions” are present. Examples of attractive nuisances include:
- Swimming pools
- Playgrounds or playscapes
- Manmade ponds or lakes
- Abandoned cars
- Holes or pits in the ground
- Construction or farm equipment
- Construction materials
- Discarded appliances
To establish a successful case involving an attractive nuisance, it must be shown that:
- The property had an artificial object condition of which the property was aware or should have been aware
- The property owner knew or should have known of the likelihood that children will trespass onto the property
- The property owner knew or should have known that the object or condition posed a risk of serious injury or death
- Due to their age, the children would not be able to appreciate the danger
- The benefit to the property owner of keeping the object and condition and the burden of removing it was slight compared to the risk it posed to children
- The property owner failed to use reasonable care in eliminating the danger posed to children
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If your child has been injured on someone else’s property, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.