Liability for injuries on a swing set/slide
I would like to know what liability a homeowner might face for any injury to neighborhood children should they come into the yard to use the homeowners childrens large backyard play set which includes slide/swing/climbing etc.
The yard is not fenced in, sometimes the owners children are present sometimes not. Sometimes there is no one at all home during the day and it is possible that the equipment might be used by neighborhood children without any invitation to do so.
I believe there is a term like 'attractive nusance' or 'attractive hazard' that goes with this sort of situation.
What must the owners do to safeguard themselves from suits arising from children who may injure themselves playing on this equipment? When and how would the homeowners be liable?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Liability for injuries on a swing set/slide
Generally, a property owner is not liable for injuries to trespassers. However, you are correct concerning the exception known as the "attractive nuisance" doctrine. The attractive nuisance doctrine generally applies to obviously hazardous conditions, where it is foreseeable that a young child would tend to investigate or play. I believe the key phrase here is "inherently dangerous". Examples of conditions which have been found as such are, contruction sites and large abandoned appliances, such as refrigerators. I personally am not aware of a back yard play swing being considered an inherently dangerous condition.
However, you should probably put up signs "no trespassing" or "do not play on swings" as a safety precaution. Or if you know the parents of any of the small children, send them a note advising to keep children off property.
Also, even if your backyard swing is not an attractive nuisance, you may still be liable for injuries sustained by small children. Allegations of negligent maintenance and negligent assembly can make you responsible. So be careful
W. James Moore, Esq.