If you or someone you know owns residential or rental property in Las Vegas or anywhere else in the state of Nevada, know that you have certain obligations under the law. One main legal obligation is the duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. Although this obligation does not apply to the same extent to trespassers on your property as it does to invitees or licensees (invited guests for social or business purposes), there are obligations beyond just keeping the premises safe and free of dangerous conditions. Under the legal doctrine of attractive nuisance, property owners and operators are also obligated to take extra steps to protect children—including trespassing children—from manmade features on the property that could cause harm. Failure to do so can result in legal and financial liability should a child be hurt
Understanding the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
Nevada law defines an attractive nuisance as any artificial feature or condition that a child may want to access. There are several attractive nuisances on Nevada properties, particularly due to its weather. Examples of attractive nuisances include trampolines, swimming pools, farm equipment, treehouses, and man-made ponds. Should a Nevada property owner or operator have these attractive nuisances on the premises, he or she must take reasonable actions to prevent children from being hurt as a result of them. The basic premise of the attractive nuisance doctrine is that young children are incapable of appreciating the risks associated with playing on certain structures, particularly when they are enticing to them.
Below is some general information on attractive nuisances—for both parents and property owners in Nevada. Nevada’s attractive nuisance laws are fairly new, when compared to laws addressing other issues. In 2015, Nevada’s state legislature passed laws making property owners legally responsible for injuries caused by any attractive nuisance on the premise, if certain factors exist. These include:
The victim-trespasser is a child;
Child is unable to appreciate the risks of the nuisance due to his or her young age;
The condition does not exist naturally (i.e., it is artificial);
The artificial condition is the type that a child would typically want to access;
The Nevada property owner knows, or should have known, that the artificial condition is dangerous for a child;
The artificial condition can be made safe or safer with reasonable actions; and
The time and expense required in taking action to make the artificial condition safe or safer is small when compared to the harm a child could suffer if hurt.
Of note, the attractive nuisance doctrine only applies to artificial conditions; in other words, a Nevada property owner has no legal duty to secure a natural condition from a trespassing child.
Personal Injury Help in Nevada
If you or someone you know has had a child harmed as a result of an attractive nuisance, contact the experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau today for your initial case evaluation.
(image courtesy of Angelo Pantazis)