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In the District of Columbia, as well as the rest of the country, an attractive nuisance is defined as a man-made structure that is irresistible to children. Many courts have ruled that temptations, such as swimming pools, could cause harm or death to young children unable to realize the risks. The landowner must take reasonable measures to secure the property, such as putting up a high fence with locked gates, or they could face premises liability.

Construction sites are in the top 10 attractive nuisances. Injuries or death could be sustained by their dangerous conditions, such as falling stone, lumber, heavy equipment or an unfinished ceiling collapse. Since the reasoning behind these laws is that the structures are man-made, lakes, hills and ponds are normally exempt. Industrial water hazards, such as abandoned quarries filled with rain water or irrigation canals, tend to be viewed by courts as an attractive nuisance.

Railroad turntables were largely the reason these laws were originally made, because although the owners knew they were alluring to children, the owner did not attempt to guard or lock them. Abandoned appliances, such as chest freezers and refrigerators, may be dangerous to young children due to their love of climbing into small places. Since 1958, refrigerators are required to be possible to open from the inside, and, thanks to this change, suffocation deaths have declined, but old appliances are still out there.

If a child has been injured or killed by an attractive nuisance, then an experienced personal injury attorney might be able to help. Legal counsel could possibly evaluate and assemble a claim to show a court that the owner was negligent in that he or she should have foreseen the danger and taken steps to prevent it. The lawyer might be able to work to help the victim’s family receive compensation for mental anguish, medical expenses and emotional damage.

Source: How Stuff Works, “10 Most Common Attractive Nuisances”, Beth Brindle, Dec. 4, 2015

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