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What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2018 | Personal Injury |

The fall and Wintertime in Covington brings with it a whole new array of outdoor activities for kids to indulge in, from sledding and ice skating to camping in snow caves. As a parent, you hope that your kids will recognize which of those activities can be dangerous. At the same time, you also know that in their excitement, your kids might not think twice about playing with a risky attraction (especially young children).  

The attractive nuisance doctrine recognizes that there are certain elements that may be particularly appealing to your children, and that they might not have the good judgment to overcome such an enticement. Thus, responsibility goes to the owner of the property on which an attraction is found to restrict access to it. Many cases in which the attractive nuisance doctrine is invoked involve accidently drownings in swimming pools. Yet the case which prompted the establishment of an attractive nuisance standard in Kentucky actually involved a child being burnt after playing in a pile of burning leaves whose fire the owner had not fully extinguished. 

Kentucky Supreme Court rulings state that the following conditions must be present to invoke the attractive nuisance doctrine. These include:

  • A condition exists which a property owner knows might attract your child to their land
  • The property owner realizes the condition poses the risk of causing death or serious injury
  • Your child would reasonably not appreciate the risk the condition poses
  • The effort in protecting your child from the condition would be slight compared to the risk it poses
  • The property fails to put any measures in place to protect your child from the condition

Liability under the attractive nuisance doctrine might still be assigned to property owners even if your kids were on their property without permission.