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Child Trespasser

If a child trespasses on a landowner’s property what duty does the landowner owe the child? Generally landowners do not owe a duty to the entrant except to refrain from willful, intentional or reckless conduct that would injure the trespasser. When it comes to children trespassers the attractive nuisance doctrine may be germane, which consequently provides children to a greater level of protection than adults. The attractive nuisance doctrine is commonly applied to swimming pools.

With the attractive nuisance doctrine landowners are subject to liability for physical harm suffered by child if caused by an artificial condition that is: a) located in a place where the landowner knows or has reason to know that children are likely to trespass b) if the landowner knows or has reason to know that the condition involves an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to children, c) that children are unlikely to appreciate the danger due to their youthfulness, d) the burden of eliminating or maintaining the condition is minor compared to the risk of the condition, and e) the landowner fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger.

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