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What is an attractive nuisance?

With property ownership comes a lot of responsibility. Sure, there is maintenance and upkeep to ensure the home is comfortable for the owner, but it is also critical that the premises in maintained in a way to ensure safety for those who may enter the property. As this blog as discussed in the past, those who invite individuals onto their property, including businesses, have a duty to routinely inspect, identify, and remedy any hazards on their property. But what about characteristics of a property that may be inherently dangerous to a child, but are not "hazardous" in the traditional sense?

These elements of a property are often referred to as attractive nuisances. Children, who are natural explorers, may be drawn to property features that are inherently dangerous to someone of their age. Such features include swimming pools, animals, wells, stairs, and machinery. The law seeks to keep children safe from these features by allowing suit against a property owner who knows or has reason to believe that children may enter his or her property and fails to adequately prevent harm.

This means that property owners should be able to identify attractive nuisances and take steps to make them safe for children, should children be likely to be drawn to the nuisance. A property owner could put up a fence, lock doors, and/or put the nuisance in a shed. Merely posting signs may not be enough to alleviate one from liability.

Therefore, when an individual's child is injured on another person's property, then he or she may be able to file a premises liability claim against the property owner. Succeeding on a claim may bring the family much needed compensation to help cover medical expenses related to any injuries.

Source: FindLaw, "Dangers to Children: What is an Attractive Nuisance?" accessed on July 26, 2015

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