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Is my neighbor responsible if my child gets hurt on his property?

Most people think about other people when the term “neighborhood nuisance” comes to mind. However, there is a different kind of nuisance in legal terms, which holds a property owner responsible for not safeguarding dangerous features from children. These are attractive nuisances. If you have never heard about an attractive nuisance, you may want to learn how it pertains to Florida homeowners.

According to FindLaw, an attractive nuisance is an item or feature on one’s property that children may find too tempting to resist. As you know, children do not always follow the rules, especially if their friends are influencing them, or they are too young to fully understand the dangers. Homeowners must recognize potential hazards to children and take reasonable measures to discourage children or make it impossible for them to access the dangers.

In a warm state like Florida, one of the most common attractive nuisances is backyard swimming pools. You could expect that children would gladly take the chance to come onto your property for a swim if you are at work or out of town. Therefore, you would address this problem by installing a high, locked fence around the pool. Other attractive nuisances may include the following:

  • An outside guard dog, which may look friendly but can be aggressive and unpredictable
  • A riding lawnmower parked at the side of the house with the keys in the ignition
  • An uncovered well or deep ornamental pond
  • An unlocked shed full of power tools and other dangerous items

The solutions to each of these attractive nuisances can be simple – lock sheds and garages, keep the keys to machinery in a separate, secure place and don’t make it possible for kids to access dangerous animals. You may take the right precautions, but that does not mean your neighbors will do the same. If one of your neighbors ignores a known hazard and a child suffers an injury, he or she may be held liable.

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The Law Offices of Cameron D Simpson, P.A.
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