What are attractive nuisance laws?

Many Washington residents may be unfamiliar with issues of premises liability, particularly as they relate to attractive nuisance laws. In general, landowners and others are required to recognize features of their properties that may attract children and, in the process, place them in danger. Even cases where a child was trespassing may result in liability being imposed.

Some of the things that come into play in determining whether attractive nuisance laws are applicable concern the condition of the property itself. For example, in the case of playground accidents, the playground’s condition is such that failing to resolve a dangerous aspect of it presents a minimal risk compared to the potential risk of harming a child.

Following along those lines, landowners are expected to take reasonable care with respect to their properties. Areas that have the potential to be dangerous should be subject to some form of action that mitigates the risk of children trespassing upon them. Landowners are expected to understand that children may be too inexperienced to understand such dangers themselves and act preemptively to minimize the risks themselves. This is especially true if the dangerous area in question may cause serious injury or death.

The parents of a child who has been injured on another’s property may want to discuss their situation with a personal injury attorney. Legal counsel may review the condition of the particular property as well as its maintenance history to determine whether a landowner fulfilled the required duty of care. The attorney may then, if warranted, proceed with a premises liability lawsuit seeking damages for the losses that have been sustained.

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