Attractive Nuisance: Recovering For Your Child’s Injuries
Children are naturally attracted to things that are dangerous for them.
Just look around your own yard and neighborhood see how many places or objects you can identify that could result in harm to your child if he or she were engaging with them alone.
Swimming pools, lakes, creeks, and other bodies of water are obvious danger zones for unsupervised children.
Trampolines and jungle gyms, even though put in place so kids can enjoy them, can be dangerous for unsupervised children. Ladders, wheelbarrows, or other tools and equipment normally seen around houses are also items that attract, and could potentially harm, children.
Drainage ponds, sewage pipes, piles of lumber or stone may not look like fun play places to you, but to a child they may be as inviting as that jungle gym.
And perhaps nothing is more intriguing to an adventurous child than an abandoned building full of wonders and dangers like unstable flooring, broken glass from shattered windows and mirrors, and broken stairs.
If your child has been injured on someone else’s property, even if they were not suppose to be there, you may have a claim for damages under the attractive nuisance doctrine. While a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights to recovery based on the facts of your specific case, the following provides a general overview of how the attractive nuisance doctrine is applied.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
Normally, property owners have a lot of defenses against lawsuits for damages if a trespasser is injured on their property. But when it comes to children, the rules are different. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a landowner may be held liable if a child trespassing is injured on their property if the injury is caused by a hazardous condition or object that is likely to attract a child.
There are five criteria, though, for holding a landowner liable when a child is injured on their property. And all five must be met:
- The landowner knew or should have known that children were likely to trespass on the property in question.
- The condition or object on the property had the potential to cause serious harm or death to children.
- The children involved were too young to understand the risk of the hazardous condition or object.
- The cost required to fix the condition was minimal compared with the risk to children.
- The landowner failed to take reasonable steps to get rid of the danger posed by the condition or object.
In the swimming pool example discussed above, if a child trespasses onto the owner’s property and has an accident in the pool, the property owner could be found liable for the child’s injuries. It is up to the owner to recognize that the pool is an attractive nuisance and take affirmative steps to reduce the likelihood that a child will use the pool uninvited and unsupervised. He or she could build a fence designed to keep small children out and install an alarm that will sound if anyone gets near or in the pool.
In the abandoned building example, the landowner should do everything possible to keep children from using it as a playground, including making it inaccessible by boarding up the doors and windows.
How a Colorado Springs Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If your child has been injured on another’s property, a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney can review your case and advise you on whether or not you have a claim under the attractive nuisance doctrine.
Contact the lawyers at Levine Law for a free case evaluation, either by phone at 719-471-3000 or visit us online.