Parents can always tell you one of their worst fears is their children running off and getting hurt or worse trying to play with something when they don’t recognize the danger of doing so. Kids can find nearly anything interesting, including things that you may not even think twice about such as a pile of wood or other large piece of junk lying around. Unfortunately a large number of kids are injured every year as a result.
However, for parents there is some good news: you do have the right to hold the owner of these dangerous property features responsible thanks to our state’s “attractive nuisance” doctrine. On this blog, we’ll take a look at what this doctrine says and how you may be able to apply it if your child is injured on someone else’s property.
Connecticut Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
To put it simple, the attractive nuisance doctrine says that property owners have a responsibility and a duty to ensure that any and all potentially attractive property features that can cause injury are secured so that wandering and curious children cannot access them. When children can gain access to one of these features and become injured by it, you as their parent can hold the property owner accountable for the damages you incur as a result of their injuries. This is similar to our state’s premises liability laws, only with the added focus on children who don’t recognize the danger of something that might catch their eye, and thus their interest.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
What are these potentially-attractive property features? Well, pretty much anything, really. While most people think of attractive nuisances as things like swimming pools, jungle gyms, playground equipment, sandboxes, sports equipment, and anything else that kids may see as an opportunity for fun, what many adults also fail to recognize is that kids have an imagination. As such, even things that you may think are the opposite of attractive and fun-looking can also spark a child’s interest. Things like old appliances (i.e. refrigerators, washers, and dryers), old, rusty cars, piles of wood or cracked cement with exposed rebar, construction materials, and more can also draw the interest of a wandering child, potentially making a property owner liable.
There is no exhaustive list of attractive nuisance property features because the law is designed to be universally-encompassing: if a victim’s parent and their Waterbury injury attorney can demonstrate that a feature was left unsecured and presented danger to children, then they can reasonably expect that their attractive nuisance claim will be accepted. Thus, the onus is on property owners to be vigilant about the conditions on their premises and quickly secure any features that might be dangerous. It’s important to remember that in the case of children, a warning sign often won’t do; many children can’t read and don’t understand the meaning behind caution tape or other potential warning signs.
What to Do If Your Child Is Hurt
If your child has been hurt by an attractive nuisance property feature, it’s important to get them medical help as soon as possible. Some more severe injuries can have life-long consequences if they’re not dealt with as soon as possible, especially with things like concussions or other brain injuries, deep gashes, or drowning incidents.
Once you have received medical treatment for your child, it’s equally important to speak with an attorney about your rights as a parent and determine whether you have a legitimate attractive nuisance claim that you can hold the property owner responsible for.
Call Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos Sousa, P.C. today at (203) 583-8299 and speak with a member of our team to find out more about your rights as the parent of a young injury victim!