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Keeping your property free of attractive nuisances

Most New Jersey property owners have never heard of the legal term in premises liability law, "attractive nuisance," but it is important to understand what it means if you want to keep your property free of liability dangers. An attractive nuisance refers to any kind of item or situation on a property that could potentially attract children to enter the property and get hurt. This article will discuss different kinds of attractive nuisances that are common in New Jersey and how property owners can ensure none are found on their premises.

In order for something to qualify as an attractive nuisance, it usually needs to be a man-made object that needs to be maintained. As such, a naturally occurring lake or pond -- although it would be dangerous to children -- would normally not be considered to be an attractive nuisance. Conversely, a rusty old tractor with broken parts that could collapse when children play on it might be considered to be an attractive nuisance by a New Jersey court.

In addition, laws and courts generally provide that children could probably hurt themselves on just about anything, so an attractive nuisance will need to be more dangerous than other things that children could hurt themselves on, like a tree, for example. Here are a few examples of attractive nuisances to get a better idea of what might qualify:

-- Fountains and swimming pools

-- Tunnels and wells

-- Animals that could be dangerous

-- Old stairways and dangerous pathways

-- Machinery like gas pumps, lawnmowers and other items.

Property owners who have potential attractive nuisances on their premises need to take measures to prevent children from coming onto their properties. Even if the property is gated off, property owners may need to take extra steps to prevent children from endangering themselves if they try to break onto the property.

Source: FindLaw, "Dangers to Children: What is an Attractive Nuisance?," accessed Oct. 13, 2016

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