How To Protect Yourself From Liability Due To Attractive Nuisance
Children (and this definition may include teenagers) have an exploratory and inquisitive nature that may cause them injuries. Such injuries may stem from ordinary objects that pose no danger to adults. Such ordinary objects that may attract and injure children are known as attractive nuisances. Here are steps to protect yourself from potential personal injuries brought about by attractive nuisances:
Identify the Attractive Nuisances in Your Property
The first step is to identify the objects or structures in your property to which children may be attracted. You can only take the necessary precautions if you know what you are protecting them from. Some of the obvious attractive nuisances include:
- Automotive machinery such as lawnmowers
- Water features such as fountains
- Domesticated animals such as horses
- Accessible tall structures such as rooftops
Understand Your Local Laws and Regulations
Most obvious attractive nuisances, such as swimming pools, are governed by local ordinances. For example, you may be required to erect a barrier of a certain height around your swimming pool. Acquaint yourself with these regulations because if you don't do so, you may be deemed responsible should a child get injured in your property.
Scrutinize Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
It is not just your local regulations that you have to worry about; you also have to contend with your homeowner's insurance policy. Most insurers have term and conditions that you need to keep – otherwise your policy may be voided. As usual, ignorance is not a defense, so it is up to you to get acquainted with these special considerations. If you aren't sure, just ask your insurance broker.
Take Other Reasonable Precautions
You don't have to rely on policies and regulations to protect children from your attractive nuisances. Common sense measures that you can take include:
- Warning off children that trespass on your property
- Sending warning letters to parents when their children trespass on your property
- Securing your animals if you know they may harm others
- Storing machinery properly while away
These precautions may not absolve you of all responsibility, but they are necessary nonetheless. For example, they may show the court that you took reasonable steps to keep your home safe.
Of course, even with all these and other precautions, you may not eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit in case somebody gets hurt in your property. The only way to defend yourself in such a situation is to consult a lawyer and tell him or her of all the precautions in place. A personal injury lawyer will also be able to help you prepare and secure your home in the first place.