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How Attractive Nuisance Laws Make Landowners Liable for Child Injuries

How Attractive Nuisance Laws Make Landowners Liable for Child Injuries

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:

  1. Children can easily trespass on the property, and if they would want to trespass.
  2. The hazard could cause serious injury or wrongful death.
  3. The harmed children are young and cannot understand the danger.
  4. Preventing trespass or injury would raise minimal costs.
  5. 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.

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