Keeping children safe can be challenging since they often do not understand when they face a dangerous situation. In some cases, a child becomes injured due to inherent dangers of an object on another’s property. He may even trespass on an individual’s or business’ property because he is drawn to the dangerous item. If a child suffers injuries, the property or business owner could face liability in Virginia under the attractive nuisance doctrine—even if the child was trespassing.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
Attractive nuisances are features of a property, or objects on a property, that pose risks to young children who are unable to understand the dangers they face. In many cases, the object or property feature is something intended for children to use and can be used safely under adult supervision. Common attractive nuisances that result in children suffering injuries include:
- Swimming pools
- Playground equipment
- Abandoned vehicles and appliances
- Tool sheds
- Construction sites
- Man-made ponds and fountains
What Is a Property and Business Owner’s Duty to Protect Children From Attractive Nuisances?
Property and business owners have a duty to protect children who may enter their property—even if the children are uninvited—from attractive nuisances on the property. In order to be liable, the following is usually required:
- The owner knew or should have known that children might trespass onto the property.
- A condition on the property could result in a child suffering an injury or death.
- A child who suffered the injury on the property was too young to understand the danger.
- The cost of repairing or maintaining the attractive nuisance so that it is safe is small in comparison to the potential injury to the child.
- The owner failed to take reasonable steps to keep children from suffering injuries from the attractive nuisance. This can include installing a fence, locks, or posting warning signs.
Did your child suffer injuries on another property? He may be entitled to compensation from the business or property owner for his injuries. For help pursuing his legal rights, call our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.