Good Fences And Not So Good Neighbors: Property Law 101

Good Fences And Not So Good Neighbors: Property Law 101

Attractive Nuisance Doctrines — Why Some Property Comes With Greater Liability

by Hunter Moore

Property owners generally try to maintain a reasonably safe environment for friends, neighbors, customers, family members, and even strangers who enter their property. But you may have an additional responsibility if you own what is known as an attractive nuisance. 

What is an attractive nuisance and how does it affect legal liability? What impacts the responsibility it brings to you as an owner? And where can you get help if someone is injured? Here are some answers to your questions. 

What Is an Attractive Nuisance?

Despite the name, not all attractive nuisances are actually attractive. For legal and insurance purposes, these are objects and conditions on your property which are more likely to attract children or vulnerable individuals. 

Some common examples include swimming pools, trampolines, junk cars, treehouses, playgrounds, construction equipment, fountains or ponds, animals, and even holes in the ground. Anyone with children of their own can understand why these might attract children's attention and curiosity. 

What Is the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine?

In many states, premises liability law assigns special responsibility to owners who knowingly have an attractive nuisance on their property. This is because children (and some vulnerable people) are not expected to fully understand the hazards and risks associated with them. 

Therefore, the burden of preventing harm to children falls even more fully on the adult who owns the attractive nuisance. This heightened liability may even extend to children who are not authorized or known to be on the property. 

What Responsibility Do Owners Have?

So, what is your responsibility as a property owner? There is no one answer because each state sets attractive nuisance laws for itself. Some states stipulate what proactive measures you must take, such as installing a fence around a swimming pool. 

Many states, though, are more vague. They may state that the owner must take reasonable precautions to prevent harm, especially to children. What are reasonable precautions? This varies, but juries of laypersons will usually have to decide this on a case-by-case basis. If a jury of your peers feels that a landowner has not taken their attractive nuisance seriously enough, they may penalize them. 

Where Should You Start?

If someone has been harmed by your attractive nuisance, you may have an uphill battle to mitigate liability. To learn more, you can contact a local personal injury lawyer. Meet with one today to find out how your state's premises liability laws affect your case.


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Good Fences And Not So Good Neighbors: Property Law 101

If you've recently moved into a new house and your neighbors are claiming you've infringed on their property line with your new fence, you may not know what to do. Sure, the idea of contacting a lawyer can be intimidating, but if your neighbors are insistent that you're on their property and you can't prove otherwise, an attorney may be the best choice. I created this site to help people just like you understand the laws surrounding property boundaries, real estate claims, and similar issues. I hope that the information here will give you some clarity as to whether or not you need to consult an attorney to protect your interests.