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Detailing the attractive nuisance doctrine

Parents in Hoover understand that they have to let their children face the inherent risks the world has to offer. That understanding does not mean, however, that they do not automatically expect some degrees of assistance in protecting their kids from these dangers. The responsibility to keep kids safe from dangerous obstacles or attractions is not limited to those who know them; indeed, according to the Cornell Law School, the attractive nuisance doctrine assigns liability to property owners when children are injured on their lands and it is determined that they did not do enough to protect kids from dangers they knew to be present. 

Alabama Supreme Court rulings have established the standard of proving violations of the attractive nuisance doctrine to be: 

  • A property owner having an artificial condition on their land that they know be attractive to young children either through its location or nature
  • The artificial condition posing a serious risk of death or serious injury to children
  • Children not fully comprehending the risks that the artificial condition poses
  • The capacity to which a property owner can restrict access to the condition (or in some other way mitigate its risks)
  • The property owner failing to approach fulfilling that capacity

The responsibilities imposed on property owners by the attractive nuisance doctrine extend to all children that enter on to their properties (even those that do so without permission). 

Most might associate common attractive nuisances with summertime activities. Yet features such as abandoned buildings, construction sites and frozen rivers and ponds might also pose risks to kids during the winter months. Erecting fences around areas that may attract children or ensuring that adult supervision is available at all times might reduce a property owner's perceived liability should an accident occur. 

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