If a neighbor has a pool built on their property, it may be highly visible to the neighborhood children, who will naturally be interested in something that appeals to them in such a way. As a parent living in the same area, though, you may be a bit worried about your small children going near the pool when no one is around.
This is a valid fear, and this may fit with the legal doctrine of an attractive nuisance. You need to know how this works and how it may impact your options if anything happens.
What is an attractive nuisance, anyway?
To start with, an attractive nuisance is simply anything that you may think of as a “kid magnet,” as long as it also poses a level of risk. A pool is the most obvious example, but other fixtures and landscaping designs could also qualify.
Since these things attract children, the owners need to take steps to keep those kids safe. If they fail to do so, they could be liable for injuries — or even fatal incidents — that happen because of that nuisance.
Now, property owners often try to argue that they shouldn’t be liable because the person who got hurt was trespassing, but this isn’t always a defense. Again, the risk is to children. If a four-year-old wanders into the yard and falls into the pool, they didn’t even understand the legal concept of trespassing. They couldn’t read any signs telling them not to enter the yard. Simply saying that they shouldn’t have been there isn’t enough because they are uniquely vulnerable.
What the homeowner needs to do is go a step further. This could mean installing a fence that children cannot climb, with a gate that locks automatically. They have to protect those in the area from the attractive nuisance that they created, even if they never intended to have any of those children come anywhere near the pool to begin with. Failing to do enough can be an act of negligence.
These can be complex cases
As you can imagine, a case like this is often very complex, and the property owner may argue aggressively that it was not their fault. If you have lost a child or had one suffer serious injuries, you need to know all of the legal options at your disposal.