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The attractive nuisance doctrine

Parents in Toms River send their kids out to play each day with the hope that they will exercise sound judgment in all their actions. Depending on the age of a child, however, that expectation may be unrealistic. Young kids, in particular, can be especially curious, often only learning through experience. The trouble with this is that their curiosity may lead them into dangerous situations (whose risks they do not fully appreciate). 

The law has attempted to make up for this lack of understanding by creating the attractive nuisance doctrine. Per the Cornell Law School, this establishes the threat of liability for property owners whose lands contain potentially dangerous attractions if those property owners do not take adequate steps to protect kids from said attractions. This standard often holds true even in cases where a child may have come on to a property to investigate an attractive nuisance without permission. 

For many years, the state of New Jersey only imposed the standard that property owners held the same duty of care towards children that they did with adults (that being not to deliberately harm them when on their properties). However, a 1956 state Supreme Court ruling made the following observation: “Although the modern inclinations of teenagers and adults have become somewhat unpredictable, the natural propensities of children of tender years continue to be reasonably foreseeable. Their instincts have been too repeatedly observed over the ages to elude common knowledge.” With that opinion, state courts began to impose the attractive nuisance doctrine in situations where property owners made no attempt to protect kids from the features found on their lands. 

Protection typically means more than simply a written warning; a physical barrier limiting access is usually what is needed in order to avoid liability. 

How you can protect yourself against road rage

For some people, when a football game does not go their team’s way or when frustrations from work are just too much, they may end up taking their anger out while out of the road. Driving angry, which can easily slip into road rage, is an all too common fact in our lives and it can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities.

Road rage has become so prevalent, it is likely that most people don’t need to get into the car already in a bad mood to have it happen to them. Dealing with normal traffic situations seem to be enough of a trigger. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released information stating that 78 percent of respondents to a survey reported that they had engaged in at least one act of aggression towards another driver in the past year.

What is classified as road rage?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, road rage is defined as a driver engaging in one or more dangerous and illegal maneuvers that can put other people and property in a dangerous situation. Here are common road rage tactics another driver may exhibit:

  • Honking and flashing lights at you
  • Cutting you off
  • Tailgating
  • Speeding around you
  • Ignoring traffic laws
  • Obscene gestures or yelling at you
  • Not yielding or driving erratically 

How should you respond to road rage?

f you encounter a driver that is driving aggressively or has become angered by an incident on the road, before you become as reckless as they are in retaliation, consider doing these things first:

  • Know your limits – If you see another driver is acting in an aggressive manner that you may feel could set you off, you should pull over to the side of the road. You may want to have a passenger take over driving. Accidents with injuries or even death are more common when road rage incidents are escalated.
  • Try to calm yourself down – Road rage is common because people try to make their car do the talking for them. Typically, drivers want to let people know they are in a hurry, frustrated or angered by something. You do not need to talk back. Turn on the radio with calming music or veer off the main road and take the long way to your destination.
  • Show understanding – The other driver may be mad because of a mistake you made on the road. Instead of getting emotional yourself because they overreacted, try to understand their anger and do your best to let it go and not take it personally. 

Road rage may not be coming from someone else, if you are the one engaging in aggressive driving, you should also try to follow the tips listed above. Having to deal with a lifelong injury or a fatality from a road rage accident will most likely in retrospect, not be something you feel was worth it. 

What does prevention through design mean for you?

At your job in New Jersey, you probably learned about the risks that are an inherent part of your responsibilities when you went through the hiring process. Your employer may have provided training designed to help you learn about how to use specific equipment or machinery safely, as well as how to mitigate certain risks to protect your safety and wellbeing at work. 

Something else that your employer may use is a technique called Prevention through Design. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this method of creating processes at work encourages your employer to prevent risks by working them out before a process is put into use by you and your cohorts. Anything from facilities to machinery that you can tangibly touch to how a process is created and organized should be thoughtfully analyzed to eliminate any danger. In some cases, this may require your employer to redesign or modify certain things to meet adequate standards to protect you and the other workers who use whatever is being analyzed. 

When your employer implements active efforts that are regularly assessed for effectiveness, they can enhance the space that you work in to increase productivity without sacrificing your safety. You should also be familiar with protocols for reporting dangers as soon as they are recognized so your employer can address a solution right away. If you are injured at work, it is imperative that you carefully document a timeline of what happened to increase your chances of a successful outcome when you petition for workers’ compensation. 

The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.  

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