Attractive Nuisance Doctrine in NJ

Although most property owners in New Jersey know that they are responsible for any invitees and licensees on the premises, they can be held responsible if a trespassing child is injured on their property without consent. This law is known as the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. 

Essentially, an attractive nuisance is an object on the owner’s property that is likely to attract a child.  For an owner to be held liable for the child’s injuries, the court must determine if the child is old enough to know the dangers associated with the attractive nuisance. 

Common types of attractive nuisances include: 

  • Swimming pools 

  • Playground equipment, such as swings and slides 

  • Trampolines 

  • Old appliances, such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators 

  • Motor vehicles, whether the car is abandoned or in perfect condition 

  • Large piles of sand or dirt 

Keep in mind, many New Jersey courts define attractive nuisances as man-made objects and property owners are required to “maintain” the nuisance in order to be at fault for a child trespasser’s injuries. Thus, while swimming pools and fountains qualify under this definition, lakes and ponds may not. 

Property owners who have potential attractive nuisances on their premises must take measures to prevent children from entering their property. For example, installing a metal fence around a swimming pool or backyard and putting up warning signs around the area are effective ways to exercise reasonable care in securing your home, making you less likely to be found liable if a child is somehow able to break into your backyard and sustain an injury. 

Whether you have been injured on another person’s property or you are being sued for an injury on your property in Woodbridge or within the surrounding area, contact our premises liability attorneys at Palmisano & Goodman, P.A. today at (732) 709-4400 for a free initial consultation. With more than 100+ years of combined experience, our legal team has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. 

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