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What is an attractive nuisance?

Posted on in Premises Liability

An attractive nuisance is something that could be very dangerous to children, perhaps leading to catastrophic injuries, that is located on someone’s property. Even if the children should not trespass on that property, the homeowner may be liable for injuries that occur if they did not do enough to keep the children safe.

Say, for instance, that a homeowner installs a pool. They have neighbors but no fence. They put up signs on the pool deck that say, “No trespassing” and “No swimming” and assume that covers them from liability. Then, while they are out of town one day, a 3-year-old neighbor wanders onto the property and falls into the pool.

The homeowner may argue that it’s not their fault. They put up signs, and the child shouldn’t have been there to begin with. However, the court could find them liable since they did not have anything — like a fence with a locking gate — to actually prevent the incident from happening.

There are three main things that an attractive nuisance must address:

  1. First, children do not know what the danger looks like or how dangerous it is.
  2. Second, the homeowner has a “special responsibility” to keep them safe.
  3. Third, the homeowner has to fail in that responsibility.

In this hypothetical case, the issues are clear. Children love swimming pools and don’t understand the risks. They cannot read and do not understand property lines. The attractive nuisance was set up in such a way that it contributed, through the homeowner’s negligence, to the incident.

As you can imagine, these are complex cases. If your child has been injured, you need to know what legal steps to take. To speak with an attorney about your situation, call us at 281-643-2000 for a free consultation, or contact us online.

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