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What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?

| Nov 3, 2017 | Premises Liability |

Just because the weather is getting colder does not mean that your kids will still not want to go play outside. You likely do not want to keep them cooped up in the house, either. San Antonio’s many neighborhoods offer plenty of outdoor activities for kids to enjoy. Unfortunately, there are also certain features and conditions that present dangers that little children in particular might not fully comprehend. As a parent, you hope that the adults who own or oversee such hazards do all that they can to protect children from them. If one does not, can he or she be held liable? 

According to information shared by the Cornell University Law School, a legal principle known as “the attractive nuisance doctrine” assigns liability to property owners for injuries that occur to young children caused by enticing yet dangerous conditions or attractions on their properties. As kids often cannot appreciate the risks that such features present, property owners essentially must do if for them. The attractive nuisance doctrine may even be applied to cases where your children were on a property without permission. The only exception would be is if the property owner had taken action to protect your kids from it (e.g., erecting a fence, dismantling dangerous equipment). 

What are some common attractive nuisances? The most obvious answer is swimming pools, yet several others areas may also qualify. Children can easily be injured playing in our around railroad tracks or construction sites, or in ponds, fountains or canals. Abandoned vehicles, appliances or equipment, or man-made features such as bridges or jump ramps might also qualify.