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The basics of attractive nuisance law

| Jan 20, 2021 | Premises Liability

Premises liability law covers a wide range of injuries in New Jersey, including slip and falls, injuries from defective conditions or incidents due to snow and ice on the property. A type of injury most people don’t think about is attractive nuisance, an object that may attract children onto the premises.

Basics of attractive nuisance doctrine

Premises liability law requires property owners to keep their premises reasonably safe. Attractive nuisance doctrine protects children who enter the property and get injured by an object. This law presumes that children don’t have the capacity to understand potential dangers as opposed to an adult.

An object classifies as an attractive nuisance if the landlord knew the hazard existed, constructed or set up the object, maintained the object and knew that it would be a potential hazard for children. Some jurisdictions require property owners to make certain features artificial to prevent injury. While courts seldom require a child to be a specific age to recover damages, they may consider whether the child has the capacity to understand risk, such as knowing the danger of jumping from high places.

Types of nuisances

Attractive nuisances include swimming pools, animals, trampolines, power lines, stairs, tree houses and tunnels. A land owner may not consider some things a nuisance, such as a lumber pile, old appliances or vehicles, but these items can attract children. For example, a child’s curiosity could get them locked inside an old refrigerator. Some states do not consider some natural features such as ponds, cliffs, lakes or hills legal nuisances, but a man-made land or water feature could be an attractive nuisance.

Premises liability law can subject landowners to lawsuits to help injured parties pay for their medical expenses. An attorney may help an individual determine whether they have a case.

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