Does Premise Liability Cover Trespassers?

Are you Liable if a Trespasser gets Injured on Your Property?

Premises liability can be one of the more complex areas of personal injury law. In the case of a trespasser, the rules can enter a deeper gray area. I know, this is going to be hard to believe, but in some situations, a trespasser can technically sue for premise liability, even if they were never supposed to be on the property.

As a general rule, property owners are not responsible for trespassers’ injuries.  While there are exceptions to this rule, the court generally has every right to tell the trespasser that the property owner is not liable for their injuries. This rule is not in place to punish trespassers, but it is in place because a property owner cannot always know when a trespasser is on their property. Therefore, the property owner cannot be held responsible for not warning them about safety hazards.

Exceptions to the General Rule

If people trespass on your property regularly, it may be the best practice for the property owner to put up signs around his/her property. The signs will let people known that they are entering private property and are traveling at their own risk.

Another exception to the general rule is if the property owner is engaging in willful and wanton conduct that causes an injury to a trespasser. For example, if you have a piece of land that you do not visit regularly and you notice that there has been a string of robberies, you can not set up a trap with an intention of hurting or killing the trespasser.  In this scenario, the property owner would be liable for the injuries of the trespasser.

When a person trespasses on your property and is injured as a result, it can turn into a very complex case. It is best if you inquire with an experienced premises liability attorney.