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Premises Liability

Water Fountain Injuries

Children In The Fountain

Las Vegas Premises Liability Attorney

While decorative fountains may look beautiful and increase the curb appeal of your commercial or residential building, they can be dangerous for children without proper supervision.  Accidents involving these fountains can often result in severe or fatal injuries to children or young teens, and unintentional drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death for children aged 1–14. Due to the risk that these fountains can pose, there are laws in place to protect any children who are harmed by them.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a water fountain accident caused by a property owner’s negligence, our experienced premises liability lawyers at Pursiano Barry Bruce Demetriades Simon LLP will be happy to help. Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.

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Liability Due To Assembly

Many fountains share a similar problem when they are being assembled — they often lack bonding between their heavy concrete pieces. Plumber’s putty is often used to waterproof certain sections, but it doesn’t secure any sections together. Due to this lack of bonding, these heavy pieces can be knocked over and potentially cause head injuries to any child who decides to use the fountain as a make-shift playground.

Design Liability

Head injuries are a common occurrence when a fountain collapses, and a wrongful death claim is the most severe. Fountains often weigh more than 1,000 pounds with each tier weighing more than 100 pounds. If you are hit by one of these when a fountain collapses, it could result in some pretty catastrophic injuries. Be wary of any older concrete as it may be more brittle and more prone to breaking.

Nevada’s Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

In Nevada, property owners are tasked with keeping their property safe to make sure that any child who happens to wander onto their property does not face any danger. Using the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, the property owner could face a negligence claim against them. The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine protects children who stumble upon an artificial safety hazard they think is a good place to play, even if they are trespassing on the property. Nevada Statute 41.515 outlines the following conditions in which the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine applies.

  • The trespasser on your property is a child
  • Due to the child’s age, they cannot see the danger that the object poses
  • The object is artificial and does not exist naturally
  • This is an object that a child would want to access
  • A property owner should understand that the condition is dangerous for a child
  • The time and expense involved in taking precautions and keeping the property safe is minimal compared to the injuries that a child could suffer if they get hurt
  • It is an object that can be made safer with reasonable steps

If the worst does happen and an accident does occur, the child’s age, training, education, and experience will be considered factors as to whether or not the attractive nuisance doctrine applies.

What Steps Does A Property Owner Have To Take Under This Doctrine?

Putting up warning or caution signs might not be enough to stop a child trespasser, and if a child does get harmed on your property due to an attractive nuisance, like a fountain, the owner may face legal liability to the child. Damages will be available for emotional distress and physical injuries, for which there may be monetary expenses for the owner to cover, such as their medical bills.

How To Minimize The Risk Of Accidental Injuries Or Drownings

  • Place water features in secure locations. If there is a fountain on your property, you might not be legally required to put up a safety gate, but we recommend putting up some form of safety barrier to help prevent injuries and possible drownings.
  • Teach children proper water safety. Like having a swimming pool on the property, it is important to teach children and other visitors not to run or play around the fountain. Putting these rules in place can make sure that no child will be hurt around the fountain.
  • Never leave children unattended near a water-based landscape feature. Young children are equally at risk in shallow water than in the deep end of the swimming pool, as young children can drown in less than two inches of water, so make sure that children are supervised at all times around the fountain.
  • Secure chemicals and water treatment products. While they may not seem that harmful, many water treatment chemicals used for water features are poisonous when ingested. It is important to keep these chemicals in a secure location far away from children or animals that can ingest them.
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How Our Las Vegas Attorneys Can Help

If the worst-case scenario happens and a fountain has caused an injury on your property, you may owe the child compensation. If tragedy befalls your family and your child is the one who was injured, they may deserve compensation even if they were trespassing at the time the injury occurred. Luckily, our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Pursiano Barry Bruce Demetriades Simon LLP can help establish liability and provide guidance amidst settlement litigation. Contact us today to make sure that you are given rightful compensation.

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