Premises Liability And Attractive Nuisance Laws: What You Should Know
If you get hurt on someone else’s property because of an unreasonable hazard or risk on the property, you can often file a premises liability lawsuit in order to seek financial compensation. But what happens when a person trespasses onto another party’s property and suffers an injury? Generally speaking, under New Jersey and Pennsylvania law, a property owner in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania is only required to avoid actions that are intended to willfully cause injury to the trespasser. In other words, the duty of care owed to other people on the property lawfully — to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the premises — is not the same duty owed to trespassers.
However, there is an important exception for children who trespass on property as a result of an “artificial condition” or an “attractive nuisance” that entices the child onto the property and poses a serious injury risk. In such circumstances, the property owner can be liable for the trespassing child’s injuries through a premises liability lawsuit.
Types of Attractive Nuisances on the Property
What kinds of artificial structures can be considered attractive nuisances in New Jersey or Pennsylvania? While there are a wide range of objects that may cause injury to children who trespass on the property, some types of attractive nuisances are more common than others. The following are some of the objects or artificial conditions frequently identified in attractive nuisance cases:
- Swimming pools;
- Old vehicles;
- Abandoned appliances;
- Man-made lakes or ponds;
- Heavy machinery;
- Ladders; and
Elements of an Attractive Nuisance Case
If your child was injured because of an attractive nuisance situation, it is important to understand the elements you will need to prove in order to be successful in a premises liability lawsuit. Under New Jersey law, for example, the following are the specifically cited elements you will need to prove in order to obtain financial compensation:
- Possessor of the property knows or has reason to know children are likely to trespass in the place where the condition exists;
- Possessor of the property knows or has reason to know and realizes or should realize that the condition involves an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to such children;
- Children because of their youth either 1) do not discover the condition, or 2) do not realize the risk involved by trespassing in that area of the property made dangerous by the condition, or 3) do not realize the risk involved in intermeddling with the condition;
- Utility to the possessor of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger are slight as compared with the risk involved to the children; and
- Possessor of the property fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise protect the children.
To determine if you can meet those items above cited in the statute, you should speak with an attorney about your case.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
If your child was injured on another party’s property as a result of an attractive nuisance, it may be possible to file a claim for financial compensation. To find out more about a premises liability claim, you should get in touch with an experienced New Jersey and Pennsylvania premises liability lawyer at Monaco Law PC. Joseph Monaco is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer serving Atlantic County, Burlington County, Cape May County, Camden County, Cumberland County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Salem County and all of South Jersey.