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Do Texas Courts Apply the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine in Premises Liability Cases?

Attractive Nuisance Doctrine: An Overview

If you are a parent you probably know how difficult it is to keep your child's attention. They are constantly being distracted by new things which divert their attention away from more important things. Frequently, this thirst for curiosity and having new experiences results in children wandering off from their parents to explore new wonders. Unfortunately, the world can be a very dangerous place to a small child. In an effort to protect small children and shelter their rights following personal injury, Texas has established a theory of law known as the attractive nuisance doctrine. In short, this doctrine protects children and places a greater liability and responsibility upon landowners. This theory can be very complex and if you believe your child's rights may be protected by the attractive nuisance doctrine you should contact the attorneys at Grossman Law Offices to discuss your case in full.

Children Unknowingly Trespass

Small children are not aware of many of the laws in our society. Young children are uneducated about our complex legal system and many would not be capable of comprehending it if you attempted to explain it to them. They are young and innocent. Sadly, this often accounts for small children unknowingly endangering their own safety. The attractive nuisance doctrine recognizes young children's inherent curiosity. This doctrine states that if the landowner may be liable for the damages of a trespassing child if they are harmed by a hazardous condition on the property which the owner knew would likely attract a young child. When a small child sees a pool they are almost automatically attracted to it. They immediately want to go over to the pool and play in the water.

While adults recognize the inherent danger associated with swimming pools, a young child often cannot appreciate the risk in venturing over to the water. As a result, swimming pools fall under the classification of being an attractive nuisance. Adults know that children are naturally attracted to this danger and adults understand that this poses a great threat to their safety. As a result, state law requires that every swimming pool must be fenced off to keep children out of harm. But how do you prove that the hazard is an attractive nuisance? And how do you prove that the owner owed that duty of care to the injured child?

There are 5 Required Elements to Establish a Landowner Liable for Damages under Attractive Nuisance

Once a child is injured on someone else's property, this fact is not sufficient to require the landowner be held accountable for damages. You must prove five foundational elements to establish the landowner's liability:

  1. The possessor knows or has reason to believe that a child would trespass due to this condition.

  2. The possessor knows or has reason to believe that the condition could cause serious harm to the trespassing child.

  3. The child does not appreciate or discover the risk or danger associated with the condition.

  4. The cost of eliminating the risk of danger to the child is minor compared to the potential threat it poses to the child.

  5. The owner or possess failed to use reasonable care in eliminating the risk.

Proving all of these elements can be incredibly challenging to someone who is not familiar with the law and court procedure. It is important that you seek the assistance of a qualified lawyer who understands how to help you succeed in court. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have been helping families like yours for over 20 years. We understand the complexities of your case and know how to help you receive the compensation you deserve. If your child has been injured and you believe they may be protected under the attractive nuisance doctrine, contact Grossman Law Offices at (855) 326-0000.

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