Every year thousands of children suffer serious injury or wrongful death from dangerous conditions and hazards on othersâ€™ property. These children often are not invited onto the premises nor is the property generally held open to the public. However, it is highly foreseeable that certain types of man-made conditions or hazards may appeal to a childâ€™s curiosity with obvious examples including open trenches, swimming pools, scaffoldings and temporary structures. The general area of Tennessee law that governs injuries to children in such situations is premises liability law and more specifically the attractive nuisance doctrine. The basic idea is that because it is typically foreseeable that children may be drawn to such hazards and unable to appreciate the risk, a property owner may be liable for injuries to a child who wanders on a property and suffers injury or wrongful death caused by a man-made hazard. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has been representing Tennessee children who suffer serious injury and wrongful death from hazards on othersâ€™ property for over 20 years. Serious injuries to a child are particularly troubling because they can have a lifelong impact on a childâ€™s future and quality of life.
Tennessee premises liability law generally does not impose a significant duty on property owners to protect adults whom trespass on private property, such as, a person who is entering the property to take a shortcut or to snoop around. The only obligation owed to a trespasser is not to cause intentional injury. This effectively means that a Tennessee property owner is not liable for injuries to an adult who falls in a trench but would be liable if the trench was hidden under a cover designed to trap unsuspecting trespassers. By contrast, a property owner may be liable for injuries to a child that falls in a trench on the property even if it was open and obvious.
An attractive nuisance is an artificially constructed condition on property that both has a tendency to attract children and to pose a risk of injury. The key is that it is foreseeable that a child might be attracted to certain dangerous conditions but not possess the sophistication and maturity to appreciate the potential danger. Common examples of hazardous man-made conditions that may constitute an attractive nuisance include the following:
â€˘ Swimming pool
â€˘ Open trench, hole or ditch
â€˘ Piles of building materials
â€˘ Construction equipment or machinery
â€˘ Piles of lumber
This list is hardly exhaustive but provides a few examples of the types of hazards that may be considered an attractive nuisance. Generally, an attractive nuisance is a man-made hazard rather than a naturally occurring hazard like a pond or other natural part of the terrain.
Tennessee courts will typically engage in a balancing test considering a variety of factors when determining whether to impose liability for an attractive nuisance including the following.
â€˘ The ownerâ€™s knowledge of prior trespassing on the property
â€˘ Whether the type of risk is one that a child would understand and appreciate
â€˘ The magnitude of the risk
â€˘ The burden associated with eliminating the danger in light of the degree of risk posed to children
â€˘ Safeguards actually taken by the property owner to prevent injury to children from the hazard
Tennesseeâ€™s attractive nuisance doctrine is designed to protect children who innocently wonder onto property and are exposed to risks of injury that they may not be mature enough to understand. If your child has been injured by an attractive nuisance, the experienced premises liability attorneys at NST Law can help you receive the full compensation to which you may be legally entitled. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has offices in Memphis, Jackson and Knoxville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas with the experience and resources necessary to fully investigate and help successfully resolve your Tennessee premises liability case. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence. Call NST Law today for your free no obligation initial consultation with a Tennessee injury attorney at 1-800-LAW-4004 (1-800-529-4004) or visit us on the web at www.nstlaw.com. No matter where you are in Tennessee, Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is just a phone call away.