Defining an attractive nuisance

Property owners could be held liable if a child trespasses and sustains injuries while on their yard or other space that they control. In Illinois and many other states, children are not expected to fully comprehend the dangers that they could face. Therefore, property owners who have something that could attract a child to their property are responsible for putting safeguards in place. Failing to do so could result in financial and other negative consequences.

Examples of attractive nuisances include large machinery, a distinct pathway or a swimming pool. As a general rule, a court will only consider an object a nuisance if it is maintained to some degree. This means that natural bodies of water are generally not attractive nuisances. Furthermore, a court will likely expect a child to have some idea that certain actions can result in harm. Those actions may include falling from heights or touching a hot object.

In some cases, simply seeing a child on a property could make the owner liable to make the property safer. It is also important to note that teenagers could be considered children in some jurisdictions. To limit liability, property owners could simply take reasonably adequate steps such as adding fences or putting signs.

If a child is hurt on someone else's property, a parent or guardian for that child may file a premises liability lawsuit. A lawsuit may also be filed if an adult is hurt on another person's property. Generally speaking, there must be evidence of negligence on the property owner's part. This could involve not childproofing a swimming pool or failing to warn about potential dangers that may exist either inside or outside of a private residence.

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