Premises liability laws typically state that a landowner will not be liable for any injuries suffered
by someone trespassing on their property. The legal protection from liability
is reinforced if there are also signs that state not to trespass, as well
as warning signs indicating potential hazards, like the classic “Beware of Dog” sign. However, a property owner’s ability to escape liability
falters when a
trespassing child is injured due to “attractive nuisance” laws.
An attractive nuisance law states that a landowner could be responsible
for a trespassing child’s injuries if their property has a dangerous
structure, object, or condition that a child would find interesting, intriguing,
or inviting. Furthermore, landowner’s liability under attractive
nuisance laws may increase significantly if it should have been known
that the object or condition was both dangerous and attention-grabbing.
In effect, attractive nuisance laws demand property owners and controls
to take reasonable steps to protect young children, and allows them to
be finically penalized if they do not.
In an attractive nuisance case, it must be determined if:
- Children can easily trespass on the property, and if they would want to trespass.
The hazard could cause
serious injury or
- The harmed children are young and cannot understand the danger.
- Preventing trespass or injury would raise minimal costs.
- Property owner ever tried to remove the hazard.
Common types of “attractive nuisance” hazards on properties include:
- Swimming pools
- Construction work
- Fountains or ponds
- Metal debris or refuse
- Industrial equipment
- Yardwork tools
- Open holes
- Slides, swings, playsets, etc.
All property owners should take the time to understand if there are any
attractive nuisances on their property. If so, steps must be taken to
prevent children from trespassing and exploring the structure, object,
or condition. Failing to make such a reasonable effort can create direct
liability in any resulting child injuries.
Was your child injured while exploring the property of another landowner?
Attractive nuisance laws might give you a chance to file a valid injury
claim in pursuit of compensation. Call
888.918.9890, talk to Belushin Law Firm, P.C. and our New York City premises liability
attorneys, and request a
free consultation to learn more.