Premises liability laws require property owners to take reasonable precautions to any and all persons who may access their property. In other words, Louisiana property owners must ensure that people who utilize their property or amenities remain protected from potential hazards. Included in these premises liability regulations is what is known as “attractive nuisance.” The attractive nuisance doctrine compels property owners to ensure that a child avoids injury or death on their property. That is despite whether or not they were invited there in the first place. Though there is no specific legislation that mandates that swimming pools or other similar amenities at a private home or residence be secured or safeguarded, there may be potential for a successful lawsuit if a lawyer can show that a property owner was careless and that this negligence caused the victim’s injury or wrongful death.
If your child obtained injuries while venturing onto another person’s unsafe property, you may have a valid legal claim under the law of attractive nuisance. Call the Shreveport premises liability attorneys at Greenwald Law Firm today at 318-219-7867 to see how we can help you.
Attractive Nuisance Definition
An attractive nuisance is a tort law doctrine in which a person who enables the existence of a dangerous situation that appeals to children on their property, such as an unfenced swimming pool, is responsible for any injuries sustained by a child, even if they were trespassing. In addition to the doctrine itself, an attractive nuisance may also be the dangerous condition or object to which the doctrine is applicable. For example, one might call the unfenced swimming pool an attractive nuisance in and of itself, or they might be referring to the doctrine responsible for this definition.
At its core, the law of attractive nuisance suggests that children lack the ability to differentiate between what is safe and what is not. As such, it holds property owners liable if they fail to prevent a kid from approaching anything harmful that they may believe to be intriguing and want to explore or investigate.
This tort law doctrine establishes that 1) children have no concept of danger, 2) a person can generally understand why a child might trespass onto their property, and 3) property owners are responsible for any injuries or wrongful death of a child should they fail to take necessary precautions.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine in Louisiana
According to Louisiana’s attractive nuisance doctrine, property owners must take reasonable precautions to protect items in their yard that may attract curious children and potentially present a danger to them. By taking precautions such as erecting a secured fence around your yard or pool, hiding the keys to your riding lawnmower, or securing hazardous yard equipment in a shed, you are protecting others from potential harm. Not only that, but you are also protecting yourself from potential legal action taken against you.
A judge may find a homeowner guilty if they are negligent in maintaining their potentially dangerous property. As a result, the homeowner in question often faces significant financial loss. Aside from swimming pools and dangerous tools, things like jungle gyms and construction zones are further examples of attractive nuisances. Essentially, any type of area, structure, or object in which little ones are likely to want to explore but may potentially harm themselves in doing so may be an attractive nuisance.
One of the most important aspects regarding the attractive nuisance doctrine is that it is only applicable to children. It is important to note that, in the eyes of the law, there is a difference between adults who trespass on another person’s property and children who roam around aimlessly. Children usually stray onto another person’s property because they are curious and absentmindedly drawn to it, not because they intend anything illegal or harmful. Things that typically appeal to a child will cause the court to view this wandering kid as an innocent person rather than a trespasser. Further, it will cause the court to view the property owner as the responsible party.
Elements of Attractive Nuisance
For the attractive nuisance doctrine to be applicable, courts usually require that five different elements be present. These are as follows:
- Existence of a hazardous condition that is likely to cause injury to people who come into contact with it.
- Place, structure, or object in question is appealing to the point of luring curious children.
- Child must have been unable to assess the severity of the situation’s threat.
- The location or object must have been left unprotected and accessible in an area where children may likely be.
- Preventing the child from entering the area must have been reasonably attainable and practical.
In the end, a lawyer’s ability to establish that the homeowner was irresponsible and negligent will determine the outcome of the lawsuit. If they can successfully demonstrate that the homeowner made it very much possible for a child to walk onto their property while following an attractive nuisance, he or she might be found responsible and ordered to pay necessary damages.
How to Protect Yourself from Attractive Nuisance Liability
It is important for all property owners to take extra precautions to reduce their degree of responsibility. Adding protections and safeguards to any location or object that may seem appealing to children is a good place to start. In addition, property owners may very well want to consider installing a fence around their yard. This can prevent a wandering little one from entering potentially dangerous territory as well as obscuring any intriguing part of your home from their sight. Whether it’s a pool, a fire pit, or something of the like, it’s also never a bad idea to put up warning signs.
Here are some additional features to look out for that children may consider appealing and that may inevitably lead to an attractive nuisance lawsuit:
- Landscaping or gardening tools
- Outdoor equipment
- Access to rooftops
If you take the necessary precautions to safeguard the above features and more, it will help limit your liability by showing that you did your job to protect outsiders that may wander onto your property.
Shreveport Child Injury Lawyer
If your child received injuries on another’s property and you believe someone else is partially or fully liable, let our Shreveport personal injury attorneys help. When you meet with the experienced legal team at Greenwald Law Firm, we’ll discuss attractive nuisance in detail. We’ll also walk you through your legal options and help you get the compensation you deserve.
In addition, if someone receives injuries on your property and you have concerns about liability, we can assist you in clearing your name. To book your free initial consultation, contact Joey Greenwald at (318) 219-7867 today.