What Is The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine?

By August 2, 2019 October 29th, 2019 Premise Liability

As a parent in Baton Rouge, you know that there are any number of threats to your children’s safety in your own neighborhood and throughout your community in general. You might take some solace in knowing that when your kids are invited to areas that contain potential hazards, the awareness of their presence will prompt the owners of the properties to restrict their access to such features (or at the very least, manage it). Yet what happens if your child gains access to a potential hazards without the property owner’s knowledge?

Your first assumption might be that because your child did not have permission to be on the property, you have no legal recourse if the hazard injures them in any way. That, however, many not be correct. According to the Cornell Law School, the attractive nuisance doctrine allows you to hold a property owner responsible if and when a hazardous artificial condition on their land injures your child. This is true even if your child does not have permission to be on the property.

Common attractive nuisances can include:

  • Swimming pools
  • Abandoned buildings
  • Construction sites
  • Water fountains and canals

To be an attractive nuisance, a property feature must be both artificial (natural property features like streams, rivers and trees may not qualify) and has to be something that a reasonable person would recognize as being enticing to children (so much so that its attraction outweighs their reservations about it). It is the assumption that children lack the comprehension to recognize the dangers that an attractive nuisance might pose. Property owners are thus tasked to restrict access to any attractive nuisances on their properties (e.g. erecting barriers, hiring security) to absolve themselves of liability for injuries sustained by children.

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