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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

Reviewing the attractive nuisance doctrine

With the onset of summer in Michigan, your kids will no doubt want to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. While you likely encourage such activity, you may stay feel a bit of reluctance knowing that there are a number of different attractions out there that pose risks to your kids (and you are not always there to protect them.

One such attraction that is particularly appealing during the summertime swimming pools. You hope pool owners take the necessary precautions to prevent kids from drowning. Yet as many of our past clients here at The Rubinstein Law Firm can attest to, that expectation is not always met.

Liability for attractive nuisances

The question then becomes whether you can seek a liability claim for such a failure. The attractive nuisance doctrine assigns liability to property owners in cases where attractive features on their lands (such as swimming pools) cause injuries or death. Typically, state law does not assign a strict duty of care to property owners to protect trespassers on their land. However, according to Michigan’s Trespass Liability Act, the attractive nuisance doctrine serves as an exception to this. The reason is that it takes into account the judgment capacity of the trespasser.

Your children (particularly at young ages) may be naturally drawn to a pool for the fun they think offers (while also not comprehending the risk unsupervised swimming poses). Thus, the responsibility falls to the property owner to take extra measures to protect your kids from it. Failing to do so may qualify as negligence.

Different types of attractive nuisances

Pools are not the only attractive nuisances recognized by law. Others may include:

  • Abandoned buildings
  • Construction sites
  • Junkyards and landfills
  • Ponds and fountains

You can find more information on assigning liability for negligence throughout our site.