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Businesses can be liable for injuries on 'attractive nuisances'

If you're like many business owners, you want to make your property attractive for employees, customers and anyone passing by. You may have installed a large water fountain or fishpond in your patio area a sweeping outdoor stairwell leading to a rooftop break area where people can read, relax or even have outdoor meetings.

However, what if a group of children found any or all of these features impossible to resist, came on to your property and one of them was injured? You might think you're not liable because they were trespassing. However, the court may determine that you had an "attractive nuisance" that makes you legally responsible.

An attractive nuisance is typically considered anything on a property that children and even teens are drawn to that could hurt them. Even if children are trespassing on a property, the property owner may face liability because they failed to make something so tempting safe or extremely difficult to access.

Swimming pools are perhaps the most commonly cited example of attractive nuisances -- at least for homeowners. However, business owners need to be careful about features on or around their property as well.

Generally, to be considered an attractive nuisance, something has to be man-made, like a swimming pool or fountain. Trees typically don't fall into this category. However, if you find that kids are often climbing up in your trees while their parents are conducting business inside or as they're making their way home from school, it may be a good idea to take some steps to prevent that.

A premises liability lawsuit can be costly to your bottom line and your reputation. If you have questions or concerns about your potential liability or if you're already facing a lawsuit, consult with an experienced attorney.

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