Your elderly family members and friends in Phoenix are often viewed as the demographic most at risk of suffering due to a property owner’s negligence. However, there is another group that can be equally susceptible to accidents and injuries on others’ properties: your children.
The hope is that property owners will exercise similar care that you do in protecting your children (as well as those of others). Yet if they do not, is there any legal recourse available to you?
The attractive nuisance doctrine
Oftentimes injuries to children when they venture into areas where they are not supposed to be. For this reason, you might think that a property owner cannot be liable if your kids happened to be on their property without their permission. Yet that is not necessarily the case (at least according to the attractive nuisance doctrine). Per the Cornell Law School, the attractive nuisance doctrine recognizes that there are certain artificial features that may naturally entice children, and that a child’s judgment may not be sufficient to recognize the dangers they pose. Thus, this doctrine assigns liability to property owners whose attractive nuisances injure kids. This liability remains even if the injured child was on the property without permission.
Common types of attractive nuisances
The attractive nuisance was originally known as “the turntable doctrine” as the first legally attractive nuisances were railroad turntables. Today, common attractive nuisances include:
- Swimming pools
- Junk and salvage yards
- Construction sites
- Abandoned buildings
Keep in mind that the attractive nuisance doctrine only applies to those cases where kids have relatively unimpeded access to an attractive nuisance. If a property owner takes steps to limit access to it (such as erecting a fence around it), they may avoid liability.