Attractive Nuisance Doctrine – It states that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition. The doctrine has been applied to hold landowners liable for injuries caused by abandoned cars, piles of lumber or sand, trampolines, and swimming pools. It is being used in several provinces of the United States.
The following factors are considered while applying the doctrine (Restatement of Torts §339):
- The place where the condition exists is one on which the possessor knows that children are likely to trespass
- The condition is one of which the possessor knows will involve an unreasonable risk serious bodily harm to such children,
- The children, because of their youth, cannot realize the risk involved in inter-meddling with it
- The utility to the possessor of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger are slight as compared with the risk to children involved
- The possessor fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger
Bennett v. Stanley [748 N.E.2d 41 (Ohio 2001)] – A five-year-old boy trespassed into his neighbour’s yard to play by their unkempt, pond-like pool, fell in, and drowned. His mother also drowned trying to save him. The father sued the neighbours in negligence. The court applied the attractive nuisance doctrine and held the neighbours liable