Attractive Nuisance & Premises Liability

Property owners owe a duty of care and safety to any guests on the premises, except for flagrant trespassers. So, if a trespasser suffers an injury on the property, the owner generally does not owe such a duty – as long as he/she doesn’t intentionally harm the trespasser.

But what if that trespasser is a child? If a child enters a property without an owner’s knowledge and suffers an injury, the owner could be held liable –depending on the circumstances of the case – based on the “attractive nuisance doctrine.”

The attractive nuisance doctrine is a common law that assumes a child is not able to distinguish between what is and isn’t safe on the premises. The doctrine holds property owners liable for failing to prevent a child from exploring a dangerous area on the premises.

In order to apply the attractive nuisance doctrine to a premises liability case, the plaintiff must: 

  • The defendant (property owner) had reason to know their property would likely be accessed or trespassed by children.

  • The child does not understand the risk posed by the dangerous or hazardous condition on the premises.

  • The defendant failed to take reasonable care to address the unsafe conditions on the premises.

  • The cost of addressing, maintaining, or repairing the condition is minimal in comparison to the dangerous risk to children.

An attractive nuisance is an artificial feature of the property that can be highly, potentially dangerous. Common features include swimming pools, fountains, wells, ladders, outdoor equipment, scaffolding, playground equipment, toys, discarded appliances (e.g., washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc.), and abandoned vehicles.

One of the most important factors of these cases is the age of the child. As we mentioned earlier, the child trespasser needs to be of an age that they would be unaware of the risks associated with an attractive nuisance.

If your child has been injured on another person’s property in Plano, TX, contact Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today at 888-4-ZEN-LAW for a free initial consultation. Serving clients throughout Fort Worth. 

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