As we approach the summer months, kids are going to be spending more and more time outdoors. When they reach that age where they don’t need to have a parent along with them all the time, it’s only natural that they’re going to get into some trouble as they explore their neighborhood and beyond.
This can involve venturing onto private property and maybe even climbing some fences to see what’s on the other side – or because they know what’s on the other side. Sometimes, these adventures can end in serious injury.
Why property owners can have liability even if children were trespassing
While property owners typically can’t be held liable for injuries to adult trespassers (unless they did something to intentionally harm someone), the same isn’t true when the trespasser is a child. In fact, the property owner can be held liable if a child is injured by an “attractive nuisance” on their property.
The concept of attractive nuisance has been around since the 19th century. It refers to a potentially dangerous feature on a property that is can be too tempting for a child to resist. It recognizes that children don’t have the same ability to make sound decisions as (most) adults. Even if they’ve been not to go onto strangers’ property, that guidance can be forgotten or ignored if there’s an attractive nuisance on it.
Examples of attractive nuisances
Swimming pools, trampolines and treehouses are common examples of things that kids will gravitate toward. However, so are pets or other animals. Even old appliances sitting in a garage can be tempting to some kids. Sculptures, fish ponds and other man-made design features of many modern office buildings are examples as well.
Pools carry the potential for so much danger that states have laws specifying required safety features. In Tennessee, residential swimming pools must have a barrier that is at least four feet high. Among other requirements, it must also have a locking gate. Pools, hot tubs and spas that are at least three feet deep must have an alarm that can be set to go off when someone enters the pool.
If your child has suffered an injury caused by an attractive nuisance, seeking legal guidance as soon as possible can help you get justice and compensation.