The Attractive Nuisance: Protecting Your Children From Harm

Under tort law, the attractive nuisance doctrine states that a person who maintains a dangerous condition that is likely to attract children onto his or her property has an affirmative duty to post warnings or take some action to protect children from that dangerous condition. If a person fails to take these precautions, then he or she may be liable for any injuries to a child occurring due to the dangerous condition.

What is an Attractive Nuisance?

One of the most common examples of an attractive nuisance is a backyard swimming pool. Typically, a landowner should take precautions such as enclosing the swimming pool with a fence and gate to make the pool inaccessible by children on their own. As a swimming pool is likely to be irresistible to an unsupervised child, failing to enclose the swimming pool is likely to make the landowner liable for any injuries to a child that might occur in or around the swimming pool. Other types of attractive nuisances might be trampolines, swing sets, horse stables and hot tubs.

A court may consider a variety of factors in determining whether a landowner is liable for injuries to a child resulting from an attractive nuisance such as a swimming pool. For instance, whether the landowner had reason to think that children would trespass in the pool area, whether the pool poses an unreasonable risk of harm or death to a child and whether a child can appreciate the risk involved are all considerations for assessing the existence of an attractive nuisance.

Avoiding the Attractive Nuisance

As a landowner, you should take all reasonable steps to protect children from attractive nuisances located on your property. In many jurisdictions, local or state laws or ordinances require landowners to take certain actions to protect children from attractive nuisances, such as mandating pool owners to enclose their pools with fences of a particular height. Using common sense and judgment in maintaining what others may construe as an attractive nuisance on your property also will go a long way toward avoiding liability as a landowner and protecting children from harm.

If an attractive nuisance has resulted in injuries to your child, only a qualified Sarasota accident attorney can properly advise you of your legal rights. You may have a valid personal injury claim for compensation for any injuries to your child. Contact an injury lawyer today for all the information you need about your potential legal claim.