Attractive nuisances
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What is an attractive nuisance?

family swimming in a home pool, a common attractive nuisance example

Pools, playground equipment and other artificial landscaping features can make your yard a magnet for every kid in the neighborhood. But the very things that make it so attractive can also make it dangerous – so dangerous those features are considered “attractive nuisances,” luring teens and children onto your property to play.

Attractive nuisances can include a wide range of elements, from construction projects and power tools to swimming pools– that is, anything that might be seen by children or teenagers as having that “wow factor.” Other attractive nuisances are less obvious but still create liability risks for homeowners.

You can reduce your liability for accidents without filling in your pool or hauling away your playground equipment or other features that make your property distinctive and entertaining. There are precautions you can take to reduce the foreseeable dangers these features may pose and help protect yourself from charges of negligence.

Throughout the U.S., state and local laws require homeowners to take reasonable precautions to protect the safety of people on their property. When those people are child trespassers rather than guests, liability may depend on whether a reasonable person could foresee danger from the situation and, if so, whether actions were taken to prevent injuries. “There are rarely clear rules,” says personal injury attorney Peter Ventura. “Liability often comes down to common sense, and each case depends on the specifics of the situation.

“If someone gets hurt on your property and you deviated from building or sanitary codes, that [could lead to] a lawsuit. Adhering to building codes is your best protection.”

For example, a rough flagstone walkway leading to a deck is an obvious hazard that can cause people to stumble and fall. If it’s also unlit, the chance of stumbling is even higher. Therefore, ensure walking surfaces around your property are even and well-lit to minimize the risk of falls.

Trespassers

Children who trespass are treated differently than adults who trespass. As personal injury lawyer Guy S. DiMartino explains, “Children under the age of six or seven (depending on the state) can’t be considered negligent because of their age.” Therefore, property owners may be liable for injuries children receive on their property because of attractive nuisances.

To be considered an attractive nuisance:

Most common attractive nuisance examples

“For most homeowners, the leading attractive nuisances are water features, construction materials, toys,” says personal injury attorney Erik Abrahamson. 

Insurance

Insurance can’t make attractive nuisances safer, but it can help protect you from financial losses in case of covered injuries.

Contact your insurance agent to discuss attractive nuisances and policy options to reduce your risk exposure.

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