Information about Attractive Nuisance
All property owners in California have a legal duty to keep their premises safe — even from those hazards that a person would not immediately think of. Things like pools, playground equipment, and landscaping features are examples of “attractive nuisances.” Attractive nuisances open the door to liability in the event of an accident.
An attractive nuisance is essentially anything that can attract teens and children to a property that threatens them with harm. This could lead to a premises liability case if the owner does not have proper barriers or signs placed around the property to prevent the teens and children from entering.
According to California Civil Code 1714(a): “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person.” However, in the presence of children and teens, the scrutiny is heightened.
Though California hasn’t had an “attractive nuisance” doctrine since 1970, which used to make property owners liable to injured children who had trespassed onto their property to explore objects that caught their attention, they still have a duty to keep their premises in a safe condition to allow visitors to enter without having to worry about any dangerous hazards. This duty also requires homeowners to notify others of these said hazards that are not visibly or easily noticeable.
If a property owner is unable to manage their duties, then they will be held accountable for any injuries caused on their property. An individual who is hurt on another person’s property can typically file a premises liability claim for damages against any person or company that owns, leases, occupies, or controls the property where the accident took place.
Examples of Attractive Nuisances
Some common examples of attractive nuisances that property owners may have laying around their premises include:
- Water. If it’s possible to drown in, it’s a potential hazard. That includes pools, fountains, and wells.
- Construction projects. Make sure you: have a dumpster nearby to throw away any debris, put the tools away after you finish using them, and always be aware of the area and any potential hazards related to equipment.
- Weapons. We’ve all heard the horror stories. It’s not enough to teach children not to touch weapons, such as knives, they need to be stored, locked, and out of reach.
- Playgrounds. Though an outdated figure from 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. Installing shock-absorbing surfaces and making sure it continues at least six feet from the swing set helps reduce accident risks.
Emergency departments take care of more than 200,000 children who are 14 and younger due to injuries that were caused on a playground.
Who Is At-Fault for a Premises Liability Accident?
Determining who’s at-fault in a premises liability case is complex. Premises liability lawsuits require an injured individual to prove that he or she was harmed because of a property owner/manager’s negligence. An injured individual must specifically prove that the:
- Defendant’s negligence was the primary factor that caused a plaintiff’s injuries
- Defendant leased, owned, occupied, or was controlling the property where the incident took place
- Defendant acted negligently due to lack of property maintenance
- Plaintiff was hurt
As mentioned, all property owners have a duty of care to reasonably maintain their premises. A duty of care for a property owner essentially encompasses any actions that a reasonable property owner should take or should have taken in similar circumstances.
It’s also important to understand that a property owner’s duty of care may vary depending on who is on their property. Also, there are situations where an injured individual contributed negligence towards causing an accident. In such cases, liability may be shared between the property owner and the injured individual.
A plaintiff can recover damages for economic and non-economic losses caused by their premises liability claim. Recoverable economic damages include:
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate a victim for losses which don’t necessarily have an easily determined dollar value. Non-economic damages for a premises liability case may include:
There are rare cases where a plaintiff may also qualify for punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded at the court’s discretion. Punitive damages will require a plaintiff to prove one or more of the following:
- A defendant deliberately caused an accident, injury, or death
- A defendant deliberately destroyed evidence of his or her liability
- A defendant’s reckless actions caused severe injuries or a wrongful death
If a victim loses his or her life after a premises liability accident, the decedent’s surviving family members may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim for damages against the negligent property owner. Available damages include:
- Burial costs
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of support and companionship
- Financial support the decedent would have contributed had they not died
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a premises liability accident, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible. A skilled premises liability attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have sustained, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.