Attractive Nuisance Dangers on Your Property
It may come as a surprise that you are responsible for preventing injuries to children while they’re trespassing on your property. Although these injuries may be accidental, the man-made conditions, or attractive nuisances, do pose a liability risk. Attractive nuisances may be buildings, walls, or even ditches. Owners and managers of the property have the power to prevent unwanted entrance onto their property and to discourage young trespassers from getting hurt by installing signs or fences.
The real estate and property management industries are especially at risk for attractive nuisance hazard exposure because of vacant properties. Vacant properties are much more difficult to monitor and protect. However, doing nothing to prevent entry or injury of trespassers creates a serious financial risk for your company.
Being the owner of the property, you are ultimately responsibly for taking steps to ensure that anyone who enters, legally or illegally, is safe. Warning signs are one way to deter children; unfortunately not all children will be able to read the signs. It’s imperative that your protection is understood by all ages. You can do this by:
- Ensure gates are closed and locked, and the locks are not easily tampered with
- Fences are tall and sturdy, and not easily climbed
- Adequately cover or protect: pools, ditches, walls or other man made physical features that present hazard or danger
- Covering pools avoids accidental drowning and placing a sturdy tall fence ensures the least amount of unwanted entry
Property owners are also liable for maintenance and security, guaranteeing that the property remains safe for visitors. This can include the following:
- Fixing cracks or gaps in walkways to avoid slipping and falling
- Locking all hazardous tools, equipment, and chemicals
- Having flood lights in areas with low visibility
- Installing rescue equipment around pools, ponds or other water features
- Installing alert devices such as flashing lights, sirens, alarms and telephones to alert security that someone has trespassed
In cases involving attractive nuisances, negligence means that the property owner was aware that someone could get hurt on the property and did nothing to prevent it. However, if you take all necessary precautions to protect individuals on your property, you are less likely to be found negligent in a premise liability suit.