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Your Backyard Isn’t Just Attractive, It’s an Attractive Nuisance

You’ve spent a lot of time creating a backyard wonderland, and it’s a sight to behold. Especially for lawyers. Did you know that having an especially attractive backyard could be a legal liability? That’s right: your pool, trampoline, water features, garden, and even swing set might be an attractive nuisance.

What’s an Attractive Nuisance?

If you’ve dated at all, you probably have a different idea of what an “attractive nuisance” can be. But in legal terms, an attractive nuisance is something dangerous that is nevertheless reasonably attractive to others — generally children.

It’s why you can’t put up a “free candy” sign on an abandoned warehouse. The law is setup to protect children, and (let’s face it) children don’t have excellent judgment skills. Consequently, an attractive nuisance is anything dangerous that a child could reasonably be expected to be drawn to, even if that item is on someone else’s property.

Types of attractive nuisance include:

  • Any swimming pool.
  • Trampolines.
  • Rope swings.
  • Regular swings.
  • Broken down cars.

Basically: if you’d want to play with it as a kid, it’s an attractive nuisance.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

By barricading yourself like you’re preparing for a zombie apocalypse. That’s a little extreme, but in reality, the only way to protect yourself (and the children around you) is to make sure that they cannot access your backyard in anyway. Usually that means installing a privacy fence and keeping it locked.

If children commonly cut through your property, you could be in trouble. When you let children cut across your property, you essentially accept the consequences of them getting hurt on your property. While it may make you feel like an old curmudgeon, there are actually valid reasons to yell at kids to get off your lawn.

It should be noted: having an attractive nuisance in and of itself isn’t against the law, the problem is when a child is actually injured. If a child sprains themselves on your trampoline (even though they were never invited to use it), you could still be liable… because you had a trampoline. If a child breaks into your backyard, uses your trampoline, and leaves without incident, that’s not going to end in a police report (unless you want it to).

If you’re worried that your fun-filled backyard could also become litigation-filled, it’s time to consult with an independent insurance agent. An independent insurance agent will help you get the liability coverage you need to protect yourself from incidents.

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