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Kid at Empty pool attractive nuisance premises liability lawyer new york

Children are naturally curious, which can be beneficial when it comes to learning, but it can also put them in perilous situations. Their curiosity could lead them to mess with dangerous equipment, play in risky areas, eat poisonous plants, and many more activities that could hurt them.

That said if a child was hurt while on your premises, you may be subject to a premise liability case. To understand the concept better, consider this: A guest who is injured on your property can fall under either of these three categories; trespassers, licensees, or invitees, depending on the level of permission they have, if any, to be on the landholder’s property where they were hurt.

Invitees are individuals who are invited to be on the property of the owner for business purposes while a licensee is someone there for social purposes or other personal reasons.  Trespassers on the other hand are people with no permission to be on the premises. Either of the three can file premises liability claims after injury due to negligence by landowners.

However, when it comes to trespassing, offenders are generally afforded less legal protection after injury. However, premises liability law protects a group of trespassers — children. Because of their oblivion to danger, property owners and landlords owe children a higher legal duty in terms of protection. This is especially the case when property owners have items that children find irresistible, such as swimming pools.

That is where the ‘attractive nuisance’ comes in. Here is the definition of an attractive nuisance in premises liability cases:


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What Is an ‘Attractive Nuisance’?

An “attractive nuisance” is something on your property that attracts children while also posing a risk of injury. Conditions on your property that are dangerous for kids can mean you might be found liable in a premises liability case.

As such, you have a unique legal obligation or ‘duty of care’ under premises liability legislation to take efforts to protect children who may visit your property from personal injury. This duty is referred to as “attractive nuisance doctrine”.


Attractive Nuisance Doctrine in Tort Law

The doctrine states that a landowner may be liable for injuries to children who trespass on land if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition.

In the following situations, a landowner can be held liable for personal injury to children under the “attractive nuisance” doctrine in premises liability claims:

i) If the landowner had an artificial object or condition (for example, dangerous animal)

ii) If they were aware of, or should have been aware of, the possibility of children trespassing on the premises

iii) If they were aware of, or should have been aware of, the risk of death or serious injury to children posed by the artificial object or condition

iv) If the children were oblivious to the dangers linked with the object or circumstance due to their age

v)  If the purpose of the object or condition and the cost of removing it were insignificant in comparison to the risk to minors

vi) If the property owner failed to use reasonable care to remove the danger that the artificial condition posed to children.


Are Minors Trespassing on Your Property?

According to the premises liability law, children are not expected to fully understand the dangers they may encounter. As such, if you feel that there is a likelihood of minors coming to your property, you have a legal obligation to keep them safe from personal injury. If you fail to do so, you will almost certainly be found accountable for anything that happens to the child or the damage they may cause.

As a property owner, to avoid being held accountable, you must give “reasonable care” if children visit your premises:

Here is a list of necessary precautions you can consider when children visit your property:

• Warn children about dangerous situations. For instance, a ‘Keep off the lawnmower. It could injure your fingers’ notice can help your situation.

• When a child is injured, attend to them immediately or seek emergency medical care

• Request the minors to keep off your premises because of potential danger

• Talk with their parents when possible and request them to help you keep their kids away from your property.


Kid squeezing through fence attractive nuisance premises liability new york

What Are the Signs of a Common Attractive Nuisance?

Anything that youngsters or teenagers would regard as having that “wow factor” can be an attractive nuisance. Some of these include swimming pools, power tools, furry animals, construction projects, and so on. Other appealing nuisances are less evident, yet they pose a danger to children.

It may not be obvious to laymen, and in fact, many courts, require that the object be man-made and that you “maintain” the nuisance to be held accountable. Here are some of the categories of items and conditions that may or may not be attractive nuisances in premises liability cases.


Attractive Nuisances That Aren’t Well-Maintained (Property owner Not liable)

The following are examples of non-maintained goods that are not considered to be legally appealing nuisances in premises liability law:

• Natural water bodies: Lakes, rivers, and ponds

• Other natural features like hills, natural rocks, cliffs, and trees

• Choke hazards like small sticks around the compound.

• Smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning (unless there’s no detector or working smoke alarm)

Visible Dangers (Property owner Not liable)

Most courts generally know that kids injure themselves on almost any surface. As such, the law assumes that children are aware of some threats, such as:

• Wild or leashed animals

• Poison

• Fire

• Open wells that the general public is aware of

• Falling from a tremendous height

• Sharp-edged objects

• Boiling Water

When a minor is too young to understand the dangers, say a toddler, for example, their guardian should keep an eye on them. They must take reasonable precautions to keep them off your property and away from potential dangers.

What Are Some Typical Attractive Nuisances? (Property owner liable)

The following are examples of common appealing nuisances that might make homeowners liable for personal injury cases:

• Stairs that can cause a slip and fall

• Broken gates and windows

• Dangerous animals

• Dog bite cases

• Treehouses

• Scaffolding & ladders

• Construction remains

• Water features: pools, fountains

• Trampolines

• Equipment

• Roof, especially if it’s easily accessible and you’ve not taken any precaution to keep children off.


Who Is Eligible in Attractive Nuisance Cases?

Attractive nuisance liability does not apply only to small children. That said, the definition of a “minor” varies from one court to the next. Keep in mind that in many courts, teenagers or people under the age of 18 are still considered children. As such, teenagers are also included in premises liability cases after sustaining an injury on someone else’s property.


How Can I Defend Myself Against Liability?

There are 3 main methods for safeguarding yourself against a premises liability lawsuit:

1. Precautionary Principles

Taking some simple steps to prevent injury can go a long way toward avoiding culpability. For example, if you have a pool, surround it with a fence and have some security lights in the area. Note that people who don’t seem to care or put forth any effort to promote safety are more likely to be punished by the courts.

2. Adhere to Attractive Nuisance Laws

Read and follow your state and local laws, and contact a personal injury lawyer or an insurance agent if you have any questions. Your insurance agent will normally have a list of prospective items on client property that could be tempting nuisances, as well as advice on how to protect yourself. As such, you can use this insight to prove to the court that you followed local legislation in case of an accident.

3. Make Sound Decisions About Attractive Nuisances

Always use excellent judgment since you can never be too careful when it comes to avoiding responsibility. Liability can be triggered simply by children being interested in something on your property.

That said if you find local children showing interest in anything that could cause harm, put it away or fence it. Moreover, you could educate them on the dangers and put up a warning in the area. You could also extend the conversation to their parents. In a nutshell, make every effort to warn children or keep the interesting thing out of their grasp.


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Is There an Attractive Nuisance on Your Property? — Get Legal Help Today

Liability often comes down to good judgment and each client’s case depends on the specifics of the situation. However, accidents do happen, and you may end up in court with a premises liability case. For this reason, you need to hire a proficient personal injury lawyer from our law firm, Gregory Spektor & Associates P.C.

As our client, we can assure you that we are well familiar with the subtleties of personal injury cases in New York.  Call us now on 1-888-797-7735 so we can help you prepare a strong defense against an attractive nuisance case.