Attractive Nuisance in Massachusetts

Every year, dozens of individuals in Boston and surrounding areas are injured in accidents that happen on another person’s property. From dangerous shopping centers to poorly maintained walks and driveways, the types and number of injuries that occur are myriad. In some cases, these injuries may be incurred by children who may be trespassing at the time of incident. When a child is harmed on someone’s property, the doctrine of attractive nuisance may apply.

Property Owners’ Duty to Trespassers in Massachusetts

When an injury occurs on someone else’s property due to that property owner’s negligence, Massachusetts’ law allows for the victim to file a civil action to recover compensation. This is because property owners have a duty to maintain their properties in a safe and hazard free condition.

However, if the victim was trespassing at the time of the accident, the property owner may not be held liable due to the fact that the property owner is only obligated to refrain from causing a trespasser willful and wanton harm, and is not held to the same standard of care that is owed to invitees on the property.

When the Trespasser Is a Child

In the event that the trespasser is a child, however, the property owner may still be held liable for injuries caused to the child, even if they were not willful or wanton in nature. The doctrine of attractive nuisance holds that, “a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children who trespass on land if the injury results from a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition.”

In other words, if a property owner has something on their property that may be naturally attractive to a child (who cannot understand the risks of the attractive object) – such as a swimming pool or a trampoline – and the child is harmed by that object, the property owner may be held liable if the property owner did not make an effort to prevent the child from entering the property. For example, putting a fence around a pool shows that the property owner understood the risk the pool posed and tried to prevent it.

A Boston Premises Liability Attorney Ready to Fight for You

The laws regarding liability after an accident occurs on someone else’s property, especially if the person is a child or a trespasser – or both – can be confusing. If you have questions about your rights after an accident occurs, and if you want to learn more about how you can hold the property owner liable and recover compensation for your injuries, the experienced Boston premises liability attorneys at Tetzel Law, LLC want to help. Contact us today at 617-933-3858 to learn more.