In premises liability lawsuits, a property owner’s negligence is often at issue. However, what happens if the injured party is a child who has trespassed? Kids are naturally curious, so they often come to harm without their meaning to. Talk with a personal injury attorney, if your child has been injured on another person’s property, and familiarize yourself with Ohio’s attractive nuisance doctrine to see how it applies to your case.
What Are Attractive Nuisances?
Attractive nuisances are artificial conditions on a property that are alluring yet dangerous to children. Swimming pools, water wells, swings and slides, construction debris, heavy equipment, and weapons, for example, can entice children and teens to trespass and, subsequently, cause injuries.
In 2001, Ohio adopted an attractive nuisance doctrine that says that a property owner may be held liable for injuries sustained by trespassing children. The doctrine doesn’t normally apply to obvious hazards that a child should be aware of, such as fire. Still, it’s best to get in touch with an attorney who can determine if the attractive nuisance doctrine applies to your injured child.
Why Can’t Trespassing Children Be Considered Negligent?
Even if a child unlawfully enters someone’s property, the landowner may be held liable for injuries caused to that child. Because of their age, children are not be able to assess the risk that hazardous conditions present. Landowners are expected, therefore, to take steps to ensure that children are warned about dangerous attractive nuisances on their property.
How Can Property Owners Be Found Liable for Injuries?
The presence of attractive nuisances on a property doesn’t make a landowner automatically responsible for a child’s injury. Liability is established only when all of the following elements exist:
The landowner knows or should have known that children are likely to trespass.
The attractive nuisance presents a risk of injury or death to a child.
Children cannot discover or are not capable of realizing the risk.
The burden of removing the danger is minimal compared to the potential risk to children.
The landowner doesn’t employ reasonable care to get rid of the danger.
Since each item is subject to the opinion of a jury or judge, it’s best to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney to prove negligence on the part of the landowner.
The complexity of legal rules underscores the importance of contacting a trusted attorney who can help you reach a favorable outcome in your case. The Law Offices of Lawrence W. Henke, III in Dayton, OH, offers excellent legal assistance when it comes to cases involving personal injury law, family and divorce law, and criminal law. Call (937) 461-9330 today to find out how they can be of service to you, or visit their website to send them message.