Homeowners often leave their pools uncovered and their spas unlocked. But leaving a pool or spa accessible and unattended can in some circumstances create a dangerous situation., especially for children. When a child sneaks onto a property to use a pool or spa and drowns or suffers other serious injury, a homeowner may be liable for the resulting damages under a legal theory called attractive nuisance.
The elements of attractive nuisance in Nevada
Landowners owe a general duty of care to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition for guests. This rule doesn’t apply to most trespassers, on the grounds that the trespasser is acting unlawfully and the landowner cannot take steps to protect someone who is on the property without the landowner’s knowledge.
The doctrine of attractive nuisance is an exception to the trespasser rule. Attractive nuisance applies in situations where a dangerous feature of a property is the sort of thing that a child could reasonably be expected to take an interest in. Even though a child may be trespassing to gain access to the feature, the doctrine makes the landowner liable for a child trespasser’s injuries because the landowner did not anticipate that a child might be attracted to the feature and did not take steps to secure it.
Secure your pool or spa
Pools and spas are textbook examples of attractive nuisance. They offer fun and relief from the Nevada heat. But they also present a serious danger of drowning. As such, a homeowner needs to take steps to ensure that a pool or spa is inaccessible to potential child trespassers. This might include surrounding them with a fence with a locking gate or using locking covers. Homeowners should be wary about fences that a child could easily climb over; bear in mind that children are resourceful and likely to take a few risks to get access to a pool.
Consequences for creating attractive nuisance
The consequences of not making an attractive nuisance secure can be substantial. When a child has an accident in a pool and dies or suffers serious injury like brain damage, the homeowner can be responsible for medical bills and the suffering of the child and his or her family. Most homeowner insurance policies require pools and spas to be made inaccessible in order to take the insurer off the hook in attractive nuisance cases. In other words, the homeowner likely will be personally responsible for paying the hurt child’s damages.
For over 45 years, the lawyers at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have helped injured clients in the Las Vegas area protect their legal rights and get the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about how an uncovered pool or spa may expose you to risk, or if your child has been hurt in a neighbor’s pool and you’re wondering what your legal options are, our attorneys are happy to provide a no-cost consultation. Reach out to us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.