What Is An Attractive Nuisance?
Mesa Injury Lawyers Give Tips On Avoiding Personal Injury Claims Due To Children Trespassing
Some of us go through every day of our lives feeling like an attractive nuisance, but attractive nuisance is a legal doctrine that comes into play in premises liability personal injury claims. This doctrine holds that children may not be able to properly assess danger, and may come onto your property if tempted. You may be held liable for the injuries of an uninvited child on your property if there was an attractive nuisance that brought the child there. If you’re among the millions of Americans who have been installing home improvements during quarantine, you should read this before adding a tire swing or a swimming pool in your backyard.
Examples Of Personal Injury Caused By Attractive Nuisances
A married couple installs a swimming pool in their backyard but without proper lighting and a safety gate around it. They throw a neighborhood barbeque to celebrate the installation, and neighbor children sneak back into the pool later that evening. If one was injured or drowned, this might be deemed an attractive nuisance. A similar example would be a trampoline without a safety net.
A homeowner’s property is right off of a popular walking path. The homeowner has a large yard with many pets, including a goat that is known to bite. The goats frequently stand near the edge hoping for treats and affection from passing children. If the homeowner does nothing to separate the biting goat, they could be held liable should that goat bite a child.
A man inherits a house from a relative that has an old treehouse in the yard. The treehouse is derelict, with rusty nails and broken boards. If the man doesn’t do anything to fix or remove the treehouse in a reasonable amount of time, he could be held liable if a child trespasses to play in the treehouse and is injured.
Not Attractive Nuisances
Often, things on your property that are natural, or not something that you maintain, aren’t held to be attractive nuisances. Apparent dangers- things that even a small child should understand are dangerous- are also not attractive nuisances.
A woman has a house with a heavily-wooded yard. There are many twigs, pine cones, and other small natural objects strewn all over the yard. A child trespasses and chokes on a small stick. The woman likely won’t be held liable for the child’s injuries.
A married couple has a small fish pond in their yard. There is no safety gate around the pond. Unless there was something near the pond to indicate it was a good place to go swimming (e.g., a slide), the couple likely wouldn’t be held liable if a child were injured while trespassing to play in a fish pond.
A man has horse stables on his property. The stable is properly maintained and closed at night. One horse is known to be violent, and there is no signage indicating the horse’s nature. A child sneaks in while the horse is bucking and thrashing. The child enters the stall and tries to mount the horse anyway. If the child is injured, this may be an apparent danger and not an attractive nuisance.
What Should I Do If A Child Is Trespassing On My Property?
If you see children on your property before an injury occurs, you should ask them to leave and warn them of any dangers. You should also alert the children’s parents, if you know who they are, about the trespassing issue and dangers on your property. If you do it via text or email, save a copy of that message for your records just in case.
Even though a trespassing child’s injury may not be your fault, an ounce of prevention can save you from plenty of stress and headaches. You should consider a gate around a swimming pool, a safety net around a trampoline, a safety cover for a jacuzzi, etc. You can also install alarms, video monitoring systems, or motion-activated lights to help prevent trespassing and injury. Keep any buildings and structures on your property locked. Signs can remind yourself and warn others of immediate danger (“Beware of Dog”). However, a sign alone won’t protect you from liability in an attractive nuisance case. You can contact your insurance agent on advice for what items on your property may be attractive nuisances. Make sure all of those items are kept properly maintained or removed from your property.
You should always consider owning a first-aid kit, but it’s an even better idea if you have an issue with children trespassing on your property. If a child is injured on your property, you should attend to the child’s injuries if possible.
What Should I Do If My Child Is Injured While Trespassing?
Just because your child was trespassing doesn’t mean that they are barred from recovering after an injury on someone else’s property. The good news is that many people have homeowner’s insurance that covers attractive nuisance injuries on their property. However, they may deny your claim or the coverage may not be sufficient for your child’s injuries. You won’t find out until you file your claim. Speak with an Avondale personal injury attorney before sending your demand letter, or before accepting a settlement agreement.
Your child’s age and mental capacity will be factored into determining whether the homeowner is liable for their damages. Should the claim proceed to litigation, each side will argue over whether or not the item was non-maintained (natural) or an apparent danger. The homeowner won’t be held liable for your child’s damages if the court finds that your child appreciated the danger of the situation but proceeded anyway.
Contact Experienced Injury Lawyers In Mesa
Having an attorney to represent your child in your claim will be vital here. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing up front and they only get paid if they win your child’s case. However, some personal injury attorneys charge as high as 33%-40% of your child’s award. Those funds may be crucial for your child’s medical treatment and future- that’s why our Mesa Injury attorneys charge a guaranteed 25% for your personal injury claim. If your child has been injured on someone else’s property, call to schedule your free consultation with one of our Arizona personal injury attorneys.