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Explaining the attractive nuisance doctrine

One need only take a drive around the streets of Atlanta to see children at play in the city’s many parks and public areas. Yet every so often, it’s not uncommon to see kids playing in potentially dangerous areas, such as construction sites and near railroads. When parents come to us here at the offices of Garland, Samuel, and Loeb after children have been injured playing in these areas, they often want to know who’s responsible for protecting their kids from these dangers. In this post, we explain the legal guidelines governing such cases, commonly known as the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine.

Children’s curiosities are often such that they may need to be protected from them. According to section 339 of the Second Restatement of Torts as shared by scribd.com, property owner negligence may be determined if:

  •          An injury to a trespassing child was reasonably apparent
  •          Features of the property presented a reasonable risk of harm to trespassing children
  •          The danger was due to artificial machinery or instrumentality
  •          The child could not reasonably understand the dangers posed
  •          The danger was located in an area in which children were likely to trespass
  •          The property owner failed to provide reasonable protection to children

The underlying idea to this doctrine is that property owners should be able to anticipate that certain man-made features, structures, or machinery on their properties are likely to entice the interest of children. In Georgia, this doctrine does not typically extend to fires, water hazards, or the threat of falls from heights, nor does apply to natural features such as ponds or tall trees.

For more information on potential negligence issues, visit our Premises Liability page. 

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