The Nevada attractive nuisance doctrine is a legal concept that holds property owners responsible for injuries suffered by children who are lured onto their property by an “attractive nuisance.” An attractive nuisance is something on the property that is likely to attract children, such as a swimming pool, trampoline, or abandoned vehicle. An attractive nuisance is a man-made feature, not a naturally occurring feature such as a lake or pond.
When Is a Property Owner Liable for a Child’s Injuries?
If a property owner fails to take precautionary measures to prevent foreseeable injuries and a child is injured, the property owner can be liable for the child’s injuries. To hold the property owner liable, the following elements must be met:
- Due to his or her age, the child trespasser did not realize the risk of entering the property or area.
- The condition that caused harm is artificial, meaning it is man-made and does not exist naturally
- The property owner had reason to know or should have known that the artificial condition could attract a child.
- The property owner knew or should have known that the condition could potentially cause severe injury or death to a trespassing child.
- The property owner failed to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or take steps to prevent harm to a trespassing child.
- The time and expense to eliminate the danger or prevent potential harm were minimal compared to the risk of injury to a trespassing child.
If a child is injured on a property due to an attractive nuisance, the property owner may be held liable for the child’s injuries, even if the child was trespassing at the time. It is more difficult to determine who owes the premises liability duty when tenants have rented the land. Landlords owe a duty of care to the tenants, but reckless activity or negligent behavior can result in the tenant being liable.
Examples of Attractive Nuisances
The attractive nuisance doctrine is widely recognized in the United States and has been applied in a range of cases. Some common examples of an attractive nuisance involve:
- Swimming pools
- Abandoned buildings
- Construction sites
One of the most common examples of an attractive nuisance is a swimming pool. Pools are inherently dangerous, particularly for young children who may not know how to swim. Therefore, property owners with swimming pools have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent children from accessing the pool, such as installing a fence or cover.
Abandoned buildings can seem attractive to children, who may be drawn to the potential adventure or danger of exploring them. However, abandoned buildings are often in a state of disrepair and can be hazardous. Property owners have a duty to prevent children from entering abandoned buildings by boarding them up or otherwise making them inaccessible.
Construction sites are another common example of an attractive nuisance. Children are often fascinated by the big machines and heavy equipment used in construction, and may try to climb on them or play near them. However, construction sites are full of hazards, including sharp objects, exposed wires, and unstable structures.
Playgrounds can also be an attractive nuisance, particularly if they are poorly maintained or located in a dangerous area. Property owners have a duty to ensure that playgrounds are safe and free of hazards, such as broken equipment or dangerous debris.
Steps a Property Owner Has to Take Under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
Under Nevada laws, property owners have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect children from harm on their property. This means if a property owner knows or should have known that there is an attractive nuisance on his or her property, he or she must take steps to prevent children from accessing it or make it safe for children to use.
To minimize the risk of liability under this doctrine, property owners should take the following steps:
- Identify potential hazards: The property owner should assess his or her property to identify any hazardous conditions or features that may attract children. This could include swimming pools, trampolines, abandoned buildings, or construction sites.
- Take reasonable steps to prevent access: The property owner should take reasonable steps to prevent children from accessing these hazards. This could include installing fences, gates, or locks, or placing warning signs or barriers around the hazard.
- Make the hazard safe: If it is not possible to prevent access to the hazard, the property owner should take steps to make the hazard safe. For example, a pool owner should ensure that his or her pool is securely covered or fenced, or that it has safety features like a pool alarm or a pool cover that can support the weight of a child.
- Supervise children: If children are allowed onto the property, the property owner should supervise them to ensure that they do not come into contact with hazardous conditions or features. The level of supervision required will depend on the age and maturity of the child and the nature of the hazard.
By taking these steps, property owners can reduce the risk of liability under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine and help to ensure the safety of children who may be attracted to hazardous conditions on their property.
What Does a Plaintiff Need to Know to File a Case?
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit in Nevada, there are several steps you will need to take. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may want the help of a premises liability lawyer or a wrongful death attorney. To file a lawsuit, you will need to:
Determine the Appropriate Court
Nevada has several levels of courts, including the Justice Court, Municipal Court, District Court, and Supreme Court. The type of case you have and the amount of damages you’re seeking will determine which court you should file in.
Understand the Statute of Limitations
Each type of case in Nevada has a specific deadline by which it must be filed. Be aware of these deadlines so that you don’t miss your opportunity to file a lawsuit. You can sue for premises liability in Nevada within two years from the date of occurrence. The clock starts ticking the day you suffered harm.
Draft a Complaint
A complaint is the legal document that initiates a lawsuit. It should include a brief summary of the facts of the case, the legal basis for the claim, and the relief being sought. You can find templates and guidance online, but it’s generally a good idea to have an attorney help you draft the complaint.
File the Complaint
Once you’ve drafted your complaint, you must file it with the appropriate court and pay a filing fee. You’ll also need to serve a copy of the complaint on the defendant.
Participate in Discovery
Discovery is the process by which both sides in a lawsuit gather information from each other. You’ll need to respond to discovery requests from the other side and may need to file your own discovery requests.
Prepare for Trial
If your case doesn’t settle, it will go to trial. You’ll need to prepare evidence, witnesses, and arguments to present to the judge or jury.
In some cases, you may consider settlement. A settlement is often a desirable outcome because it can save time, money, and stress. You can negotiate a settlement at any point in the lawsuit, even after trial has begun.
How Much Compensation Can You Receive in an Attractive Nuisance Lawsuit?
In an attractive nuisance lawsuit, the compensation awarded is typically based on the damages suffered by the child who was injured or killed as a result of the attractive nuisance.
The compensation awarded in such cases may include the cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and other expenses related to the injuries, as well as any future medical expenses that the child may incur as a result of the incident. Additionally, compensation may be awarded for any pain and suffering endured by the child as a result of the incident, as well as any emotional distress suffered by the child and his or her family.
The amount of compensation awarded will be based on the circumstances of the case, including the severity of the injuries suffered by the child, the age of the child, and the extent of the property owner’s negligence or liability.
In determining the compensation to be awarded in an attractive nuisance case, the court may also consider other factors, such as the property owner’s level of insurance coverage, any prior history of similar incidents on the property, and any other relevant factors that may impact the compensation award.
It is a good idea to get the advice and guidance of an experienced premises liability lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and your case is handled properly.