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Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

The attractive nuisance doctrine, part of the law of torts, can hold a landowner liable for injuries to children on their property, even if the child was trespassing. The doctrine applies if the injury to the child is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is known to be attractive to children. Children are protected as they are unable to appreciate the potential risk posed by the object or condition.

The doctrine has been applied to hold landowners liable for injuries caused by:

  • Abandoned cars
  • Piles of lumber
  • Sand piles
  • Trampolines
  • Swimming pools

The doctrine, however, is not limited to these items and can be applied to pretty much anything on a landowner’s property.

The Restatement of Torts has created a standard. This standard is followed in many jurisdictions but not all. There are five conditions which must be met for a land owner to be liable for tort damages to a child trespasser. These five pieces are:

  • The place where the condition exists is one on which the possessor knows or has reason to know that children are likely to trespass.
  • The condition is one of which the possessor knows or has reason to know and which he realizes or should realize will involve an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to such children.
  • The children, due to their youth, do not discover the condition or realize the risk involved in inter-meddling with it or in coming within the area made dangerous by it.
  • The utility to the possessor of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger are slight as compared with the risk to children involved.
  • The possessor fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise to protect the children.

Putting up a sign to warn children concerning the danger of the land may exempt the landowner for liability but it will not work in all situations. In addition to the sign, the landowner needs to take some more affirmative steps to protect children. In order for a case against a landowner to succeed, all of the parts of a case must be met.

Contact a Lake Geneva Personal Injury Lawyer

If your child has been injured by an attractive nuisance on another’s property, contact the Lake Geneva premises liability lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1-800-275-1729 to discuss your case and to determine your legal options.