Many a child will run towards a playset or swing set with little to no hesitation. Often, these are public playgrounds; however, young children are often compelled by playsets located on private property.
Despite their children outgrowing their playset, many parents keep these structures on their property. While some might be holding out for grandchildren, others simply do not want to take on the daunting task of removing the structure from their property. As such, young children might be enticed to play on these seemingly forgotten playsets.
Premises liability and old playsets
While it might feel good having the neighborhood children enjoying their old and well-loved playset, the reality is that these dated structures could pose risks to these children. This is especially true in cases where the playset has not been maintained and the property owner has not done anything to avoid harms to children tempted to play on it. This is known as an attractive nuisance.
What is an attractive nuisance?
An attractive nuisance is something that is inviting to children that are unaware of the risks the attraction presents. Thus, a legal doctrine was established specifically for attractive nuisances, attaching legal responsibility to property owners and tenants for creating or allowing for a condition on their property to attract children and failing to ensure their safety.
Holding a property owner liable
Under premises liability law, even when a child is trespassing on their property due to an attractive nuisance, the child is protected as if they were invited on the property. Nonetheless, several elements need to be proven to hold a property owner or tenant liable.
This includes proving that the property owner created a condition they knew would likely attract children, that they knew children are likely to trespass into their space, that they had knowledge of or should have known that the attractive nuisance they created presents risks of injury or death to a trespassing child, that the trespassing child had no knowledge of the risks, that the property owner failed to exercise a reasonable degree of care to protect children from harm caused by the attractive nuisance and that the child suffered harm due to the attractive nuisance.
Whether your child suffered harm from an old playset or a dangerous condition they were attracted to, it is important to understand your rights when it comes to filing a premises liability action.