Your child finally took off their virtual reality headset and went outside to play. Unfortunately, they found their way to a vacationing neighbor’s house, got on the backyard trampoline and took a nasty spill. They’ll be okay, but you’re looking at some serious medical bills for their concussion, broken bones and a deep cut that needed stitches.
Your neighbor says it’s not their fault and they don’t have to cover the medical expenses because your child was trespassing on their property. Is that true?
It likely would be if an adult had done the same thing. However, for a child, a trampoline is what’s known in the law as an “attractive nuisance.” That’s a potentially dangerous feature that may be too hard for a child to resist or to understand the inherent danger involved.
What can be considered an attractive nuisance?
Attractive nuisances can include things found in many backyards, like pools, treehouses, trampolines and other play equipment. They can also include things more likely to be found on commercial properties, like sculptures that can be tempting to climb on and ponds or other water attractions. They can even be things like old appliances that are left out by the curb to be picked up for disposal.
When something is considered an attractive nuisance, it means that property owners can be held responsible for the harm it causes to a child who comes on the property even if they weren’t invited and were technically trespassing.
Will the property owner’s insurance pay?
Insurance companies, who have a stake in the matter, typically require property owners to make any attractive nuisances inaccessible to anyone not authorized to be on the property. Requiring a high fence and a locked gate around a pool would be an example. However, if a child is able to get on the property and is injured, the property owner’s insurance will pay the expenses and damages unless the item was excluded from the policy or the owner didn’t make the insurer aware of it.
If your child was injured by something you believe qualifies as an attractive nuisance, it’s wise to seek legal guidance. This can help you determine what your options are for seeking the compensation you need.