Understanding the attractive nuisance doctrine

As a parent in Austin, you no doubt not only worry about the safety of your own kids but for those of others as well. Thus, you likely do all that you can to ensure that kids are protected from any dangers that may be present on the properties that you own. Your hope is that others will repay that same courtesy. Yet like many of those that we here at Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP can attest to, that is not always the case. The question then becomes whether or not the property owners of the areas where your children are injured can be held liable for their injuries.

The answer to that question depends on the circumstances that produced the injury. According to the Cornell Law School, the attractive nuisance doctrine holds property owners responsible for any injuries caused by artificial conditions on their lands that may be enticing to young children. The reasoning behind this principle is that children are often not able to appreciate the dangers that an attractive nuisance may present. Thus, it falls to the owners of the properties in which those attractive nuisances are found to protect kids from them.

Say that your child and their friends gain access to a construction site and choose to play there, and your child is subsequently injured. The owner of the site could indeed be held liable for the injury if they did little to keep kids from accessing it. If, however, they attempted to restrict access (either by erecting a fence around the site or posting a security guard), then they may be absolved of liability.