What is an Attractive Nuisance in New York?

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

Few things are more upsetting than learning a child has been injured or killed on someone else’s property. While sometimes those injuries result from an unaddressed maintenance issue, there are also instances where an “attractive nuisance” draws the child into a dangerous situation.

These nuisances can include:

  • Swimming pools
  • Old, rotting treehouses
  • Old, rusting cars
  • Jacuzzis
  • Trampolines
  • Unsecured animals
  • Ladders
  • Scaffolding
  • Soccer Goals

A child can trespass on the property hoping to explore or play on any of these kinds of hazards and can become injured. Under New York Law, the owner of the hazard can be held accountable for failing to take measures to keep the nuisance locked down and safe from children who would naturally be drawn to it.

Criteria For an Attractive Nuisance

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A property feature must meet the following criteria to be considered an attractive nuisance.

  1. The danger must be artificial. Natural features like ponds, creeks, and fallen trees do not count.
  2. A reasonable property owner should be able to foresee that children might be attracted to the feature.
  3. A reasonable property owner should be able to foresee that the feature would pose a danger to a child who might wander onto the property.
  4. The burden of securing the danger would be slight compared to a child’s risk level.
  5. The property owner didn’t make an effort to manage the danger or failed to exercise reasonable care in addressing the danger.

If the feature doesn’t meet the criteria for an attractive nuisance, you won’t be able to press an injury lawsuit on behalf of your child, though regular health insurance might pay for at least a portion of your child’s expenses.

What does “reasonable care” look like?

Every case is different, but reasonable care could encompass taking any number of steps.

  • Adding a fence and lockable gate to the property to keep children out.
  • Adding a Jacuzzi cover or lockable Jacuzzi cover.
  • Tearing down or removing old dangers that are not always in use.
  • Adding a safety net to the trampoline, anchoring it properly, and adding a ladder to encourage kids to get on and off the trampoline safely.
  • Posting safety warnings if the property owner is aware children regularly travel on or near your property.

We may still be able to launch a personal injury case on behalf of your child even if the landowner took some steps to manage the nuisance. The question isn’t “did the landowner take any steps. The question is whether the landowner took sufficient and reasonable steps to manage the nuisance.

What should you do if your child gets injured on another person’s property?

In an ideal world, you’d warn your children of the dangers of trespassing and playing on another person’s property; in an ideal world, your children would listen. But we all know children don’t always heed their parents.

If your child has been injured, take the following steps.

  1. Seek medical attention for your child.
  2. Notify the property owner immediately.
  3. Gather the names and numbers of potential witnesses, including neighbors.
  4. Take pictures of your child’s injury. If possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident.
  5. Call a personal injury law firm like ours immediately.

The faster you call us, the faster we’ll be able to get involved with your case. This means we’ll be able to secure evidence before it “mysteriously disappears” and can file your claim on your behalf.

This means you’ll get the money to manage your child’s medical bills much faster, and you’ll reduce the possibility of something going wrong with your case.

While you have a three-year statute of limitations to work with in New York, you never want to wait that long. There’s just no benefit to doing so. Call us as soon as the immediate crisis has passed.

What happens if the attractive nuisance kills a child?

You have the right to press a wrongful death suit but be advised: these suits don’t pay very much in New York. You can usually cover funeral expenses, as well as medical expenses incurred prior to the child’s death.

Unfortunately, you cannot recover bereavement damages in a wrongful injury case, only pecuniary (monetary) damages in New York. Nevertheless, the suit might be worthwhile if you have incurred significant expenses.

Take Advantage of Our Track Record

We have a long history of success with child personal injury cases, and we can help your child get the compensation they deserve after being harmed by someone else’s negligence.

While a child can’t launch their own personal injury suit, you can launch one on their behalf.

If your child’s been hurt, contact us to schedule your free consultation today.

See also:

Understanding Damages in a New York Personal Injury Case

How Dangerous Are Daycares in NYC?

What to Expect from a Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer

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