Children have a special status under the law in many cases. This also applies to premise liability. For example, something that exists on your property that could draw children but also threatens them with harm is an “attractive” nuisance under the law.
Because of this, even if children are trespassing on your property at the time they injure themselves on an attractive nuisance, the law may hold you responsible for the injury. According to FindLaw, an attractive nuisance must be man-made and require maintenance on the part of an owner.
What is not an attractive nuisance?
Examples of items that are not legally attractive nuisances include ponds, lakes, cliffs, hills and small things like acorns or sticks that may be present on your property and also be choking hazards. You, as a property owner, are not legally liable for these property features because you cannot maintain them.
Additionally, clear apparent dangers are not attractive nuisances. For instance, if a child hurts him or herself on sharp objects or a hot water spout on your property this is not an instance of an attractive nuisance. The law assumes that children recognize some level of danger. In the event that a child is too young to recognize danger, an adult guardian must monitor the child.
What are common attractive nuisances?
Common examples of attractive nuisances on residential property include swimming pools, trampolines and treehouses. Attractive nuisances may also include scaffolding, ladders and easily accessible rooftops.
The best way to protect yourself is to take proper precautions. While you do not need to completely childproof your property, taking steps like installing a fence around your pool will help protect you in a premise liability case.