How attractive nuisance law works

Parents in Pennsylvania probably know how children are attracted to hazards. They unknowingly put themselves in danger, which is why attractive nuisance laws exist. These laws aim to protect children from the dangers of curiosity, but many parents do not understand how they work.

Under the law, an attractive nuisance is a condition, object or structure that is hazardous and irresistible to kids. For example, objects and structures that children can play on are considered the top attractive nuisances. These may include jungle gyms, playsets, skateboard ramps, trampolines and tree houses. Open pits, farm equipment, abandoned vehicles and discarded appliances are top hazards, followed by man-made water features, power equipment, construction sites, swimming pools and railroads.

Attractive nuisance law allows the court to hold landowners accountable if children are hurt by "artificial conditions" on their property and if the situation meets five criteria. The first is that the landowners are aware or should be aware that kids are likely to enter their property without permission. The second is that the artificial conditions have the capacity to cause serious injury or death to children. The law also requires that the kids involved be too inexperienced or young to comprehend the risks that the conditions present, and the landowners must fail to take reasonable steps to remove the dangers. Finally, the cost to remedy or the benefit of maintaining the conditions must be minimal compared to the presented risks.

When kids become injured from attractive nuisances on a property that does not belong to their family, their parents could file claims against the landowners to recover damages. However, the courts apply the law according to the circumstances of each case, so one court may consider a jungle gym an attractive nuisance while another court does not. Due to this, the parents may want to obtain the assistance of personal injury lawyers in determining how best to proceed.

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