Alleged Attractive Nuisance Leads to Child Injury

This case study explores a premises liability incident where a 2 1/2-year-old child suffered significant injuries after wandering onto an adjoining property housing a tractor and a wild game leg trap.

ByExpert Institute

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Published on February 6, 2024

Wild game leg trap in dirt

Case Overview

This case study examines a premises liability claim involving a 2 1/2-year-old child who when left alone unattended in the yard ventured onto an adjoining property. The neighboring property contained a large tractor and a wild game leg trap with a live raccoon.

The child’s encounter with the raccoon resulted in significant head and neck trauma. Allegedly, the tractor and game trap could be classified as an attractive nuisance, potentially making the property owner liable for the child’s injuries.

An expert in premises liability was sought to review the case details and provide an opinion on potential liability.

Questions to the expert and their responses

Q1

Could you describe your professional background in premises liability, particularly regarding precautions for children in dangerous situations?

I am a seasoned property manager with over thirty-five years’ experience managing and maintaining residential and commercial properties. Over the last decade, I have worked on more than one hundred cases across twenty states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.

These cases primarily involve premises liability matters. As a property manager, my top priority is a safe environment for all visitors.

Q2

What are the criteria for something to be considered an attractive nuisance?

An attractive nuisance refers to any dangerous condition on a landowner’s property that might entice children and pose a risk to their safety. Children are naturally curious and explore their surroundings.

When there is an attractive nuisance on site, it becomes the property owner’s responsibility to take necessary measures to prevent harm.

Q3

Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If so, please elaborate.

Yes, I am currently involved with another attractive nuisance case in the mid-Atlantic region. In such cases, landowners must know their property better than anyone else.

For instance, tractors should not be parked in open areas; they should be stored in sheds or barns. Animal traps can pose a danger to anyone, especially small children, and should never be openly accessible. Regular inspections by the owner would ensure awareness of equipment placement and associated dangers.

About the expert

This expert brings over 35 years of experience in residential and commercial property management, with a BS in business management and real estate studies and ongoing MBA studies. They hold multiple certifications including property manager, residential manager, commercial manager, and an OSHA 30-Hour General Industry Safety and Health Certification. Currently, they own and operate a full-service real estate property management firm in the Northeast, specializing in private residential, commercial, and industrial properties, leveraging their prior federal property management experience with organizations like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the United States Department of Justice.

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