Attractive Nuisance _HOT_
The attractive nuisance doctrine applies to the law of torts in some jurisdictions. It states that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by an object on the land that is likely to attract children. The doctrine is designed to protect children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object, by imposing a liability on the landowner. The doctrine has been applied to hold landowners liable for injuries caused by abandoned cars, piles of lumber or sand, trampolines, and swimming pools. However, it can be applied to virtually anything on the property.
There is no set cutoff point that defines youth. The courts will evaluate each "child" on a case-by-case basis to see if the "child" qualifies as a youth. If it is determined that the child was able to understand and appreciate the hazard, the doctrine of attractive nuisance will not likely apply.
The attractive nuisance doctrine emerged from case law in England, starting with Lynch v. Nurdin in 1841. In that case, an opinion by Lord Chief Justice Thomas Denman held that the owner of a cart left unattended on the street could be held liable for injuries to a child who climbed onto the cart and fell. The doctrine was first applied in the United States in Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Co. v. Stout, an 1873 case from Nebraska in which a railroad company was held liable for injuries to a child who climbed onto an unsecured railway turntable. The term "attractive nuisance" was first used in 1875 in Keffe v. Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Co., a Minnesota case. The doctrine has since been adopted in some other common law jurisdictions, such as Canada, but not universally.
An "attractive nuisance" is something on your property that draws children in and may look inviting, but is actually harmful. These are often premises liability issues. Premises liability occurs when you allow a dangerous condition to occur on your property.
What constitutes a "child" differs from court to court. Keep in mind that teenagers or people under 18 may still be considered children in many courts. Attractive nuisance liability is not limited just to very young children.
Read and follow your state and local laws. If they are confusing or hard to understand, call up an attorney or insurance agent. Your insurance agent will usually have a list of potential items that may be attractive nuisances on your property and have advice for protecting yourself.
There are inevitably a host of local regulations that govern almost any potential attractive nuisance (such as pools). Showing a court that you were abiding by the local law can be decisive in most cases.
In fact, you could be looking at a very serious lawsuit if one of them takes an illicit swim while you're away and becomes injured. The reason? Swimming pools fall under a special class of objects known as attractive nuisances.
An attractive nuisance is an appealing item that may present a danger to children who encounter it. If you happen to have something on your property that is particularly tempting to children, it's your legal responsibility to reduce the risk of harm.
A swimming pool surrounded by a fence or covered by a locked safety cover is no longer an attractive nuisance. A riding mower left running on your lawn is an attractive nuisance; one locked up in a shed is not.
By their very nature, attractive nuisances are objects that are extremely alluring to children. Besides, attractive nuisances are typically human-made objects that are created or maintained by a property owner.
- Ga. L. 2014, p. 351, 1/SB 125, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "It is the intent of the General Assembly to codify and preserve Georgia common law regarding the duties owed by possessors of land to trespassers as of January 1, 2014. The General Assembly finds that the provisions of the American Law Institute's Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm, 50-52 (2012), which seek to impose broad new duties on those who own, occupy, or control premises, including the duty to exercise reasonable care to all trespassers, do not reflect the public policy of the State of Georgia. It is also the intent of the General Assembly to preserve the attractive nuisance doctrine and Georgia common law as it relates to the attractive nuisance doctrine."
This fact sheet is the third and final in a series of fact sheets related to ecological revitalization on Superfund sites. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages the beneficial reuse of Superfund, Brownfields, and other contaminated sites while protecting human health and the environment. Superfund sites are being cleaned up and restored while integrating natural features such as wetlands, meadows, streams, and ponds to provide habitat for terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals, and for low-impact or passive recreation, such as hiking and bird watching. The potential exposure of wildlife can be a concern when waste or contaminants remain on a site following cleanup (i.e., attractive nuisance), but it need not prevent the ecological revitalization of that site. This fact sheet discusses how to identify, assess, and manage potential attractive nuisance issues during ecological revitalization of Superfund sites and presents case studies that illustrate a variety of attractive nuisance issues and how they were managed.
An attractive nuisance is anything that may capture the interest of a child and attract the child to trespass onto land in order to investigate the object that is attracting them. An attractive nuisance is generally held as a condition of property that is not natural.
Remember that anything natural is not an attractive nuisance. So trees, lakes, rivers or creeks do not fall under the category of attractive nuisance. An attractive nuisance has to be something created artificially and maintained purposefully. Keeping that in mind, here is a list of some of the most common attractive nuisances that tend to tend to be cited by plaintiffs in lawsuits:
Swimming pools are probably the best-known attractive nuisance. If you have a swimming pool in your yard, especially one that contains a slide or a diving board, build a fence around it with a locked gate. If a child wanders into your backyard and drowns, you could be very liable. This is especially true if you live in a community with a lot of young children or near school.
Having a good lock is an essential part of protecting yourself against an attractive nuisance lawsuit. Merely building a fence around the pool will not be enough without a lock that cannot be opened by young children.
Homeowners will occasionally win attractive nuisance lawsuits that involve swimming pools, but only if they can show they took every effort possible to keep children out, such as erecting secure fences with locked gates.
This is where the element of artificially created comes into play. For instance, if you have a pond on your property, but you do not fence it off properly and a child trespasses, falls into the pond and drowns, you would probably be facing an attractive nuisance lawsuit.
Old refrigerators, freezers, ovens or any other large appliance can provide attractive hiding places for children. While most municipalities in the 21st century require that if you are going to store any of these appliances on your property, then you need to remove the doors, people will occasionally forget to do so or have stored these items before many of the new regulations were brought into effect.
While courts in Pennsylvania have ruled in favor of children as old as 17 in one attractive nuisance case, generally the law applies to any child 12 years old or younger. Regardless of how old the child is, however, plaintiffs need to prove the child in question was too inexperienced or young to understand or appreciate the risk involved in coming into contact with the artificial object or condition.
The law considers an attractive nuisance to be something that is so enticing to children that they cannot resist coming on to your property and investigating the object. It could be a swimming pool, a water well, an animal, a piece of machinery or something less obvious, such as your roof. If your roof is easily accessible to children in the neighborhood, and you do not take steps to make it as safe as possible, there is a chance you could face liability should an accident occur.
If you are thinking of purchasing a piece of land or a new property, take that extra step and find out about any possible attractive nuisances on the property. If they exist, repair, fix or remove them at once.
Many people are not aware that they may have a condition that creates an attractive nuisance on their property, and when an accident or tragedy results, they find themselves on the wrong end of an attractive nuisance lawsuit. If you are the subject of an attractive nuisance lawsuit, or if you would like some advice on how you should deal with any potential such condition on your property, let the experienced lawyers at KBG Injury Law help you.
Before 1970, California did have this doctrine in place. And, it applied when a child was lured onto a property by some type of attractive condition (like a pool or trampoline). Under the doctrine, homeowners in California could be liable for injuries caused to children that trespassed on their property because of the luring condition.
There are several conditions that have to be met under the attractive nuisance doctrine to be held responsible for harm to a child resulting from a hazard on your property. Cases are assessed on a case-by-case basis, but generally attractive nuisance laws require owners to take reasonable measures to eliminate hazards which would foreseeably harm a child. If you fail to take reasonable care to eliminate hazardous risks on your property, you may be liable for injuries to children who trespass, since they're unable to assess the potential danger that may be involved. 041b061a72