The first duty of every parent is to protect their children. If you have children, you do whatever it takes to keep them safe. You may have taken measures to ensure that they are unable to access hazardous parts of your home and wider property. However, if your property includes a pool or you keep a dog in your backyard, then you must act to ensure that other children are not harmed.
Premises Liability Lawyer Newport Beach for Attractive Nuisance
Attractive nuisance is a legal term that refers to objects and animals on a property that draws children and threatens them with harm. You can be held liable for harboring an attractive nuisance on your property. It can fall within the bounds of premises liability, and you can be sued if someone’s child is harmed after wandering onto your land. The law places responsibility on property owners to take whatever steps necessary to protect children who may walk onto your property. Attractive nuisance law has three underlying assumptions:
- That you should know whether children may wander onto your property
- That children cannot fully comprehend the dangers they face
- That you can be held accountable if you failed to take reasonable measures that would prevent them from being injured
Technically, a child who comes onto your property uninvited is trespassing. However, the law will punish you if they get hurt. This owes to the fact that the law gives minors special protection. If you see that a child has wandered onto your property, you should take steps to ensure their safety. This can include:
- Warning them of dangerous conditions
- Asking them to leave the property immediately, and taking them off by the hand if necessary
- Speaking to their parents about their wandering habits
What You Are Not Liable For
A large property can be hard to police. If your property happens to include a large amount of woodland, then you cannot be responsible for every incident that may occur on it. Most courts deem attractive nuisances to be only those objects that are man-made or that require maintenance. Here are some of the items that are not legally attractive nuisances:
You also cannot be held responsible for choking hazards such as acorns, sticks, and pebbles. If a child climbs up a tree and falls out of it, you cannot be held liable. Indeed, courts understand that children can hurt themselves on virtually anything. You cannot be held liable if a child falls from a great height, falls into an open pit, touches fire, hurts themselves on sharp objects, approaches a wild animal on your land, or scolds themselves with hot water.
The parents or guardians of the child must take some responsibility for their actions. They cannot allow their small children to walk around unsupervised for hours at a time. However, courts also realize that parents cannot keep their children in view every second of every day. The law puts some onus on property owners to keep children safe. Here are some of the attractive nuisances that you can be held responsible for:
- Swimming pools
- Tree houses
- Scaffolding and ladders
- Broken gates
- Easily accessible roofs
If a child is injured on your property, the circumstances of the case will be reviewed and examined thoroughly to determine whether you are liable. Even if a child was injured as a result of contact with one of the above items, it is not always clear that an attractive nuisance case can be brought.
Protecting Yourself from an Attractive Nuisance Lawsuit
There are steps that you can take to protect yourself from this kind of liability. You can build a fence around your pool and install an alarm system or flood lights around it. You should also keep water rescue equipment nearby and a first aid kit. You should never leave potentially dangerous lawn maintenance equipment in the open. You should keep your shed locked up, and it is a good idea to fence as much of your property as you can.
In fact, if you can list the measures that you have taken to keep children off your property or to protect those who have managed to find their way on it, the judge may decide that you have taken reasonable steps to prevent the injury of minors.
Defending Yourself in an Attractive Nuisance Suit
Premises liability lawyers Newport Beach specialize in attractive nuisance cases. If a child was injured on your property and their parents are suing you, you want to hire a law firm that employs premises liability lawyers Newport Beach.
You will have a serious fight on your hands. A lawyer for a premises liability claim will know how to handle your case. You should leave all communication and negotiation with the plaintiff to the lawyer for the premises liability claim that you hired.
Attractive nuisance cases can be highly charged and emotional. The fact that a child was hurt will not leave you untouched. However, you must defend yourself against an aggressive lawsuit.
Property injury lawyers Newport Beach represent clients like you. If the other side has hired an especially tough and effective personal injury attorney Newport Beach, then you will need the best property injury lawyers Newport Beach that you can find.
The first thing your lawyer will do is establish the series of events that led to the accident. A minor is not the most reliable witness and you may not have seen the accident unfold. Your lawyer will bring in an accident reconstruction expert to investigate. The latter will take all the known facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and develop an evidence-based simulation of what actually happened. Your lawyer will also bring in a medical expert to carry out an independent assessment on the injuries sustained by the child. It is not unheard of for a personal injury attorney Newport Beach to exaggerate the harm done to the victim.
If you are involved in an attractive nuisance suit, then you need experienced and effective legal representation.