Does the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine Still Apply in California?

trampolineAlthough California no longer recognizes the attractive nuisance doctrine, the state now imposes more broad interpretations of duty of care for property owners.

If you were injured while on someone else’s property due to the property owner’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Call our premise liability lawyers in Sacramento to learn more about your legal options.

Below, we discuss the definition of the attractive nuisance doctrine, its reversal due to a court order, and what the law says now about the duty of care in these situations.

What is the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine?

The attractive nuisance doctrine is part of premise liability laws. Property owners may be liable for injuries to children who trespass on their property if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to determine the risks posed by the object or condition.

Some of the most common attractive nuisances on properties include things like:

In 1970, however, a California court did away with the doctrine in the case of Beard v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. The court ruled that property owners did not have an additional duty of care to potential trespassers, but instead only owe an ordinary duty of care to prevent injuries.

Was Another Law Put in Place of the Doctrine?

There is no specific law that took the place of the attractive nuisance doctrine. Instead, California property owners simply have a general duty of care to keep their property in reasonably safe conditions.

If someone is injured while on someone else’s property, the jury must decide whether the property owner took reasonable care to inspect and warn of dangerous conditions on the property.

What Obligations Do Property Owners Have Now?

Property owners have different levels of duty of care to people who are on their property. They owe the highest duty of care to people invited onto their property, second highest to those on the property with their consent, and the lowest duty of care to trespassers.

Despite California not having an attractive nuisance doctrine, property owners must still take several of the following precautions to avoid injuries to those who trespass on their land:

  • Building a fence around a swimming pool
  • Installing lighting around a property
  • Inspecting their property for hazards
  • Taking reasonable care to keep their property safe

In states that have an attractive nuisance doctrine, installing a sign that warns of danger may not be enough to avoid liability for injuries on your property, but in California, it may be.

It is important to note that the property owner must have had actual knowledge of the hazardous conditions on his or her property and failed to warn trespassers of the danger.

Injured on Someone Else’s Property? Call Us Today

If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may be eligible for compensation if the property owner did not take reasonable precautions to prevent harm. Proving the landowner’s negligent actions may take resources and skills most people may not have access to, but our attorneys have decades of experience and are prepared to help you through the process.

We offer a free consultation to see what legal options may be available to you. There are no fees while we work on your case, and you do not owe us anything unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

Call 916-777-7777 to get started.