Property owners in Texas have a duty to maintain their properties in a safe and hazard-free condition, and to remedy any known dangers on the property within a timely manner. This duty extends to both invitees (those who the property owner invites onto the property) and licensees (those who have a legal right to enter the property), but not to trespassers. However, in the event that the trespasser is a child, the attractive nuisance doctrine in Texas may apply.
What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?
The attractive nuisance doctrine in premises liability cases stipulates that, due to a child’s inability to make rational and safe choices, parents can hold a property owner liable for injuries that their child sustains on his property. To do this, the parent must prove that an “attractive nuisance” attracted the child to the property in the first place. An attractive nuisance is an “artificial” dangerous condition that may seem appealing to a child, such as a trampoline, pool, discarded appliance (freezer, refrigerator), abandoned automobile, etc.
Elements of Attractive Nuisance Claims
In order to hold a property owner liable under the doctrine of attractive nuisance, a plaintiff must prove the following criteria listed below.
- A dangerous condition likely to cause the child injury existed.
- The dangerous condition attracted the young child.
- The child was incapable – due to age – of understanding the dangers posed by the condition.
- The property owner left the dangerous condition exposed (i.e., the property owner did not have a fence blocking his pool).
- The property owner could have reasonably prevented access to the dangerous condition.
If the plaintiff can prove the elements above, the plaintiff can hold a property owner liable for harm incurred by a child on his or her property, regardless of whether or not the child was trespassing at the time of injury.
Contact a Texas Premises Liability Attorney
As a parent, your child suffering an injury is the worst thing imaginable. If your child suffered injuries on another person’s property in Texas, let our Dallas premises liability attorney get to work on your case today. At the Law Office of Julie Johnson PLLC, we know what it takes to prove negligence and hold a property owner liable when his negligence harmed your child. To learn more about our services and to discuss the specifics of your case in more detail, contact us now at 214-290-8001.