Understanding the attractive nuisance doctrine

According to the attractive nuisance doctrine, Arizona homeowners have a legal responsibility to take the steps necessary to protect children who may venture onto their property. Owners may be liable if there are items on the property that can entice children and harm them.

The attractive nuisance doctrine asserts that there is no legal basis for assuming that children are able to completely understand the dangers they may encounter. Property owners who believe that there is a chance children may come onto their property have a legal duty to stop them from being harmed. The doctrine also states that if property owners fail to fulfill their responsibilities regarding the safety of a child on their property, they may be liable for the child's injuries.

An attractive nuisance is an item or feature that appears to be interesting enough to compel a child into coming onto another person's property. A majority of courts tend to tighten the interpretation of the broad law. Many courts consider only man-made objects to be attractive nuisances. Some stipulate that the property has to be maintained in order for the property owner to have any liability in any resulting injuries.

Some common attractive nuisances include fountains, wells, swimming pools, dangerous animals, stairs, tunnels and machinery. They can also be less obvious, such as a roof. For example, if it is known that nearby children tend to climb onto a roof that is easily accessible and the homeowner has taken no actions to restrict access, the homeowner may be liable.

A personal injury attorney may use premises liability law to obtain financial compensation for clients who have been injured on another person's property. A negligent property owner could be held liable for injuries caused by a lack of property repair.

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  • United States District Court | District Of Arizona
  • Maricopa Country Bar Association
  • State Bar Of Arizona
  • United States Court Of Appeals | Ninth Circuit

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