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Property owners' responsibility to secure attractive nuisances

Pennsylvania parents whose children suffered injuries on someone else's property may believe that the owner should have known that children would be curious about an unsecured swimming pool or a piece of machinery in their yards or on their commercial premises. Premises liability laws sometimes regard certain dangerous structures or other items on private or commercial property as attractive nuisances. These are hazards that endanger children at the same time that children are likely to be intensely interested in them.

Children are not always expected to know how dangerous certain hazards are. While most children understand that falling from a rooftop is likely to cause serious injuries, they may not understand the danger in entering a swimming pool while unsupervised or going into a disused house, construction site or other attractive nuisance.

Some hazards such as swimming pools, disused homes or industrial or home maintenance equipment are known to attract children's attention. Property owners are typically responsible for securing such hazards, particularly if they have a reason to expect children to try to gain access to them. For instance, if local children are known to trespass on pathways or flights of stairs, then property owners must take steps to keep children out of these areas.

Children may suffer head trauma, crushing injuries or other injuries in accidents on unsecured properties as a result of attractive nuisances. These injuries may leave children with permanent physical or cognitive disabilities or may even result in their deaths. Some parents may wish to seek compensation if they suspect a property owner was careless in securing their home, commercial building or construction site so that children could not access it. Experienced personal injury lawyers are sometimes able to evaluate injured children's cases to determine whether parents may be able to file a premises liability suit.

Source: Findlaw, "Dangers to Children: What is an Attractive Nuisance? ", December 09, 2014

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