What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2021 | personal injury

As a parent in New York, you do all that you can to protect your kids. That concern for them likely prompts you to act in a similar way towards other children, taking extra special care to ensure that any element under your control (e.g., your actions, your property conditions) are absent any risks to them.

While you cannot control the actions and decisions of others, you hope that others reciprocate the same concern you show. That hope comes from the understanding that you cannot always expect your kids to appreciate the risks something poses. If and when it is not met, you may wonder whether what legal recourse might be available to you.

Assigning liability for attractive nuisances

That recourse may come because of the attractive nuisance doctrine. Per the Cornell Law School, this legal doctrine imposes liability on property owners who do not take steps to protect young kids from any potentially attractive features on their properties. Common “attractive nuisances” include:

  • Animals
  • Swimming pools
  • Heavy equipment
  • Construction sites

Liability for injuries caused by an attractive nuisance may even extend to cases where your child did not permission to be on a property when their injury occurred.

Exceptions to the attractive nuisance doctrine

Your child suffering an injury on another property caused by an attractive nuisance may not automatically mean, however, that the attractive nuisance doctrine applies to your case. If a property owner imposes measures to restrict your child’s access to the potential nuisance (such as erecting a fence around a swimming pool or keeping a dog separated from kids in a kennel), the court may absolve them of liability.