Children remaining at home are usually looking for diversions. But their neighbors may have features on their property, such as a swimming pool or playset, that can attract children and cause injuries. Known as an attractive nuisance, these conditions may lead to a premises liability personal injury lawsuit.
An attractive nuisance is anything on a property that attracts children and exposes them to potential injury. Other typical attractive nuisances include trampolines, tree houses and fountains and other water devices.
An attractive nuisance does not have to be permanent. An unattended riding mower or ladder left propped up beside a building, for example, can also attract and injure children.
Normally, homeowners are not liable for injuries suffered by trespassers on their property. But the law holds them responsible for protecting children because they have been known to trespass because of an inviting or attractive device or property feature.
Property owners are legally required to remove or take reasonable safeguards if there are features that could attract outside children and harm them. For example, it is reasonable and legally required for homeowners to put a fence around their swimming pool or a trampoline.
Swimming pools may be particularly risky. Pool owners should take other precautions such as installing alarm systems or lights around a pool, having water-rescue equipment, and storing pool chemicals in a secure place.
Some things are not an attractive nuisance. A child who is hurt from climbing a tree after trespassing on your property does not meet the definition of attractive nuisance because it is unreasonable to expect homeowners to put barriers around their trees.
Pennsylvania law governs attractive nuisances. An attorney can help families determine whether a property owner took reasonable precautions and pursue their legal rights to compensation.