New Jersey has adopted the attractive nuisance doctrine, which is intended to prevent injuries to your children. A property owner who has items that will both attract children and also present an element of harm is expected to take certain standards to prevent a tragedy.
Generally, there are several components that must be present to determine that someone could be held responsible for injuries stemming from an attractive nuisance. Those components include the following:
- Children are unable to understand the dangers that the item presents.
- The property owner knows that children might try to get onto the property.
- The property owner failed to take the steps to prevent harm.
For example, a swimming pool is often viewed as an attractive nuisance. Under New Jersey law, any pool must be fenced or walled in with a structure at least 5 feet high and without any openings wide enough for a 4-inch object to pass through it. If a pool owner fails to property enclose the water and a child is injured as a result of it, the family may be able to sue under the attractive nuisance doctrine.
Other types of items often considered attractive nuisances include stairs, fountains, wells or tunnels and even certain animals. Even a roof could fall into this category, if the structure is easily accessible. Experts advise that if you believe anything on your property could draw children and cause them harm, you should take steps to protect yourself.
Finally, if your child was injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you have the right to hold the property owner accountable.
While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.