If My Child Trespasses and Gets Injured, Can I Still Sue?
While the general rule is that property owners do not owe a duty to trespassers much beyond not doing things to intentionally hurt them, the law has long recognized the vulnerability of and the need to protect children. Under a legal doctrine called “attractive nuisance” even if your child was on property he or she shouldn’t have been on and sustains an injury there, you may still be able to seek compensation for the injuries your child sustained.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
An attractive nuisance refers to a condition on a property that is known to entice children to it and poses a danger to them. When a property owner has conditions on his or her property like this, the property owner has a heightened duty to protect child visitors safe, including those who are trespassing. The attractive nuisance doctrine holds property owners liable for a child’s injuries that are caused by he property owner’s failure to keep the property safe.
What You Must be Able to Prove
In order to recover compensation for your child’s injuries in an attractive nuisance case, you must be able to show the following:
- The property owner knows or should know that the condition on the property makes children trespass on the property
- The condition on the property can cause a child’s injury or death
- The child is too young or does not have a sufficient understanding to recognize the dangers associated with the condition on the property
- The risk of harm to children is greater than the cost to maintain or correct the attractive nuisance
- The property owner did not take reasonable actions to eliminate the potential dangers the condition caused or to maintain a safe premises
Common Types of Attractive Nuisances
While many different objects and conditions can potentially represent an attractive nuisance, some of the most common forms that have spurred litigation include the following:
- Swimming pools and other water sources – Many children are lured to water sources like swimming pools, fountains, wells and ponds. However, these attractive conditions can lead to tragedy when children drown or are otherwise injured
- Playground equipment – Children are also lured to properties that have swing sets, jungle gyms, trampolines, zip lines or other playground equipment, but they may be injured when playing on this equipment without supervision.
- Construction sites – Large machinery, heavy equipment, scaffolding, ladders, and shiny objects often sprinkle construction sites. Children are often attracted to these sites.
- Railroads = Some of the earliest attractive nuisance cases were based on railroads. Children were drawn to these areas because of electrical lines and large moving parts. Unsecured railroad areas may pose a danger to children.
Get Legal Help for Your Attractive Nuisance Claim
If your child was injured on someone else’s unsafe property, Virginia Beach personal injury attorney Jeffrey Brooke is here to help. At The Jeff Brooke Team, we dedicate our practice to helping injured victims and their families. Contact us by phone at (757) 552-6055 or by using our online contact form.
Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.