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What does it mean if a property owner has an attractive nuisance?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2023 | Premises Liability

As we head towards summer and kids are outside more, it seems like a good time to discuss the doctrine of “attractive nuisances” and how it’s relevant to injuries kids often suffer as their natural curiosity takes them outside their usual surroundings. When can a property owner be held liable for a hazard that caused harm to a child who wasn’t invited onto their property? 

Often, adults who trespass on someone’s property can’t hold that property owner liable if they were injured since they had no legal right to be there. The law recognizes, however, that children don’t have the same decision-making skills and knowledge as adults. They may see a pool inside an unlocked gate and decide to jump in even though it’s in the yard of someone they don’t know. While they may be aware that they shouldn’t be on someone else’s property without their permission, the temptation of the “attractive nuisance” can overwhelm anything their parents taught them.

All kinds of things can be considered attractive nuisances

An attractive nuisance doesn’t have to be something as obviously tempting as a swimming pool, a trampoline or a swing set. It can be anything from a sculpture or koi pond outside an office building to an old appliance on the driveway waiting to be hauled away. It’s anything that one could reasonably be considered both dangerous and appealing to children. That even includes pets.

Because swimming pools are such an obvious attractive nuisance, Connecticut, like other states, has requirements for fencing and other safety precautions that property owners must follow. Insurers are a good source of information for property owners regarding precautionary measures that need to be taken to reduce injuries and liability. With more temporary and unique attractive nuisances, liability can depend on the individual situation and whether the property owner acted negligently.

Of course, no one wants their child to be harmed in the first place. It’s crucial to talk to them about not going onto someone else’s private property and not to let them wander the neighborhood without an adult. As we’ve seen recently, just being on someone else’s property can be dangerous if that property owner is armed. However, if you believe that your child’s injuries were the result of an unsecured attractive nuisance, it may be wise to have legal guidance.


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