Previously on the blog we have discussed the elements of premises liability. In short, those who own property have a duty to keep the premises safe from hazards when individuals are invited onto the property. Generally speaking, those who trespass onto the property of another are owed no duty of care, which means that if they are injured by a dangerous property condition, then they probably won't be able to succeed on a premises liability lawsuit. However, there is one major caveat to this general rule.
The law recognizes what is called an "attractive nuisance." An attractive nuisance is something that children would find so interesting so as to easily entice them onto one's property without permission. Examples of attractive nuisances include swimming pools, certain machines like lawnmowers and saws, animals that may be dangerous in nature, and even certain aspects of the property itself, like stairs. When children are drawn to an attractive nuisance and injured as a result, then a property owner may be held liable for any damages suffered.
The reasoning behind an attractive nuisance law is that children typically cannot appreciate the danger that they may put themselves in when confronting these enticing features. Although this may make the law seem pretty broad, in practice it is often limited. To succeed on an attractive nuisance claim, a victim's family must often prove that the feature in question was man-made, the property owner had reason to believe that the feature would draw children onto the property, and the property owner failed to take proper precautionary steps to avoid the child from being injured.
These cases, like many premises liability cases, are very fact-specific. So, those who want to learn more about whether their case is ripe for filing a legal claim should think about discussing the matter with an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.