What is the “Attractive Nuisance” Law? And How Does It Affect Premises Liability Claims?
A premises liability accident is one where someone is injured due to dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, whether that’s a broken handrail in an apartment building or a wet floor in a grocery store. That’s why these types of cases are normally called “slip and fall” cases, although other types of injuries fall into this category, too.
Normally, trespassers aren’t afforded protection under the law and can’t sue for compensation if they are injured while on someone else’s property without permission. However, there is one very important exception to this that everyone should be aware of: when the trespassers are children.
What Happens When a Child is Injured While Trespassing
To explain why cases involving children are different, we need to look at what is expected of both the victim and the defendant in a normal case.
In a typical premises liability claim, the victim will need to prove that the property owner was aware or should have been aware of the danger, and didn’t take steps to warn or protect visitors. For example, if a grocery store owner had just mopped the floors, they should be aware that there is a risk someone will slip and hurt themselves if they walk on the wet floor.
Meanwhile, the property owner will try to prove that the victim should also have been aware of the danger. Using the same example, if the grocery store owner had placed a wet floor sign down near the wet patch, the victim should have realized they could slip and hurt themselves if they walked on that section of floor.
However, young children cannot be expected to recognize dangerous situations. Furthermore, children cannot be expected to realize trespassing is wrong.
So if a property owner knows there is something dangerous on their property and knows there is a reason a child might trespass on their property, they can be held liable if that child trespasses and is injured. This is called the Attractive Nuisance doctrine.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
Attractive nuisances are anything dangerous that might attract a child and make them want to trespass. Common examples include swimming pools, trampolines, treehouses, playgrounds, construction zones, and even animals such as horses or large dogs.
Since children can’t protect themselves, property owners need to take extra steps to keep them safe and prevent them from trespassing or being injured. For example, you may need to enclose your pool with a fence and a locked gate to make it inaccessible to children. If you don’t, you could be held liable if a child injures themselves or drowns while swimming in your pool, even if they were doing so without your permission.
Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
No one knows more about potentially dangerous conditions in a home or business than the people who live or work there, so when they ignore a problem and someone gets hurt, they can be held responsible.
If you were injured on someone else’s property, we want to help you get the compensation you deserve to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Talk to a premises liability attorney at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce for free, and if you decide to hire our team, you don’t pay unless we win.