Children Seriously Injured by Property Owners' Negligence: What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
Every years thousands of children are injured on the premises of others because they are drawn to the property by something curious or inviting. Many times these childish expeditions result in tragic accidents that can lead to catastrophic injuries and even fatalities. The concept of an attractive nuisance was developed to encourage property owners to safeguard conditions on their property that might entice or attract children, but pose a dangerous risk to their safety.
At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing children that have been seriously injured on the property of others throughout Georgia for over a quarter of a century.
Under Georgia premises liability law, the owner of a property does not generally owe "trespassers" a significant duty to make the premises safe or warn trespassers of hazards. This rule makes intuitive sense because a property owner does not expect a trespasser to even come onto their property, so an injury to a trespasser is not typically a foreseeable accident. However, an attractive nuisance is an exception to the basic law of trespass that applies only to children (or occasionally those who come to a child's rescue). An attractive nuisance is a man made condition on the property that may pose both an enticing lure to children while also posing a hidden danger. The general premise is that it is foreseeable that children will be curious and attracted to certain types of hazards, but that children lack the sophistication and maturity to appreciate the risk.
While a swimming pool is the classic example of an attractive nuisance, other common examples may include heavy machinery, open trenches, piles of building materials, and the like. Under Georgia premises liability law, an adult trespasser may recover damages for their injuries from a hazardous condition on a person's property only if the property owner's conduct is willful or wanton. However, a child who trespasses on a property and is injured while playing with such an attractive nuisance may be compensated for resulting injuries. Typically, an attractive nuisance must be man made and not something that occurs naturally such as a pond, stream, or rock formation.
Generally, a court will consider a number of factors when deciding whether to impose liability for an attractive nuisance including: (1) whether the property owner had reason to know children did or might trespass; (2) whether the risk was of a type a child could comprehend; (3) how serious the risk of injury posed by the condition; (4) the burden of eliminating the risk as compared to the magnitude of the risk; and (5) the precautions taken to protect children. By way of example, based on these factors, a property owner that knows that children have a pattern of coming on one's property has an obligation to eliminate such risks as piles of building debris or make them as inaccessible as possible.
Georgia premises liability law is designed to protect children who innocently wonder onto property and do not realize the dangers. If your child was injured while on the property of another person, you should contact an experienced Georgia premises liability lawyer to determine your rights to compensation for your child's injuries. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been assisting families whose children are injured by attractive nuisances for over 37 years. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller and rural towns in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.