Understanding What an Attractive Nuisance Is
Did you know that over 10.4 million people in the U.S. have an attractive nuisance on their land? Though this type of property is very common, it is often misunderstood. Learning what an attractive nuisance is can help you protect your family and avoid problematic lawsuits.
The Legal Definition of an Attractive Nuisance
An attractive nuisance is a broad description that refers to all sorts of properties, items, and structures that could be appealing to children. To qualify as an attractive nuisance, the item has to be both reasonably interesting to a child and dangerous to a child. One of the most common attractive nuisance examples is a pool, since most kids would love to jump into one, but they could drown without adult supervision.
Attractive nuisances are usually man-made items. It is rare for a pond, cliff, or other natural landscaping item to qualify as an attractive nuisance. Furthermore, the attractive nuisance usually must be something that is maintained or owned by a specific person. If it is a structure or other item that is not an individual’s responsibility, it might not qualify as an attractive nuisance. Generally, livestock or other animals do not qualify as an attractive nuisance, but this may be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Examples of Attractive Nuisances
The attractive nuisance definition is purposefully broad, so it can involve a wide range of items. To better understand what an attractive nuisance is, it can be helpful to take a look at common examples.
- Pools, fountains, and other water features
- Dangerous home playground equipment
- Tree houses
- Weapons or tools
- Construction sites
- Mechanical equipment
- Old cars, appliances, or other junk
What Property Owners Are Supposed to Do With Attractive Nuisances
New Jersey attractive nuisance law requires any property owner with an attractive nuisance to take reasonable precautions to keep children safe. An attractive nuisance should be constructed and maintained in a way that makes it as safe as possible for a child to use. For example, a treehouse should have a sturdy ladder and a railing around it.
Furthermore, any nuisance should be placed behind a large wall, gate, or other preventative barrier when possible. It is also helpful to have signs warning children and their parents of the danger. When an attractive nuisance is properly secured behind a gate, barrier, or warning sign, it is still an attractive nuisance. However, the owner might be less liable for injuries that occur.
What Happens If Someone Gets Harmed by an Attractive Nuisance
If your child is harmed by an unsecured attractive nuisance, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the owner. Even if the child was trespassing, the owner still had a duty to prevent children from being harmed on the object. Their failure to fulfill that duty means they may need to help pay for the consequences of their negligence.
A personal injury attorney can assist you with filing a claim against the owner. If you can show they were negligent with their attractive nuisance, the court may order them to pay you for one or more of the following reasons.
- Medical bills for the child’s injuries
- Therapy or other mental health treatment
- Lost wages for time off work while caring for the child
- Lost earning potential if the child was disabled
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Punitive damages to punish the owner for their negligence
At RAM Law, our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help. If you or someone you know has been harmed by an attractive nuisance, we may be able to assist you with getting compensation. We have offices in New Brunswick, Somerville, and Freehold, or you can schedule a remote consultation by calling 732-247-3600 or filling out our contact form. Get in touch with us today.