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The attractive nuisance doctrine explained

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2021 | Premises Liability

You certainly do not want to keep your kids inside all summer. With all of the diversions that Pennsylvania has to offer, you likely want them to experience all that they can. At the same time, however, you worry about them not appreciating the dangers they may encounter when you are not around to protect them.

Your concerns are not unreasonable. Indeed, many clients come to us here at Conlon Tarker, P.C. after their kids suffered injuries at swimming pools or on playgrounds. They want to know whether liability for such incidents lies with the owners of the properties containing these attractions. If you have the same question, it likely comes as welcome news that such liability indeed exists.

What is an attractive nuisance?

The reason for this liability is the attractive nuisance doctrine. The law recognizes potential attractive nuisances as any feature that could attract people (particularly children to it), such as:

  • Swimming pools
  • Construction sites
  • Playground equipment
  • Abandoned buildings
  • Ponds and fountains

According to the Cornell Law School, the attractive nuisance doctrine allows you to hold the owners of the property containing any of the aforementioned features liability should your child suffer an injury from its use. The reasoning behind this is that young children often do not appreciate the potential danger an attraction poses. Thus, adults should take every reasonable precaution to protect them from such dangers.

Exceptions to liability

It is in defining “reasonable precaution” that exceptions to the attractive nuisance doctrine emerge. If a property owner puts boundaries and obstacles meant to restrict your child’s access to a potential nuisance, they may avoid liability.

You can learn more about assigning liability for a significant injury by continuing to explore our site.


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