Can You Sue a Property Owner for an Injury You Got while Trespassing?
Generally speaking, a property owner isn’t liable for injuries sustained by trespassers. The underlying rule here is a property owner has no reasonable way of knowing if someone is trespassing, and therefore has no responsibility to make the property safe for trespassers.
If you file a suit against the property owner and your case actually goes to court, the court will undoubtedly tell you the property owner has no liability for your injuries. However, the court is obliged to give you the opportunity to explain what makes your case worthy of hearing. This is where you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney representing you.
Exceptions to Injury Suits against Property Owners
There are two situations where a suit against the property owner may have some traction.
Exceptions for Discovered Trespassers
When there is frequent trespassing on the property, as might be the case when it is used as shortcut to another location, such as a public park, there is an expectation the property owner has “discovered” the property is being used in this manner. As such, the property owner should reasonably be expected to put up signs warning of any dangerous condition on his property. If you can establish the property was frequently trespassed on and there were no signs warning of any danger, the court is obliged to consider the case.
Exceptions for Willful and Wanton Conduct
Whether the property owner has posted signs warning of some danger on the property or not, the property owner is obligated not to engage in any conduct likely to cause injury to a trespasser. For instance, the property owner cannot fire automatic weapons into the woods or conceal a deep trench with brush for the purpose of “teaching those trespassers a lesson!” Similarly, the property owner cannot rig a booby trap to cause injury or death to a trespasser in order to keep a trespasser from stealing something on the property.
The only scenario in which a property owner can use deadly force is if it is necessary to protect himself, herself, or others, as would be the case in an armed burglary of the property owner’s home. If the property owner feels his or her life or the lives of others are threatened by the intruder, he or she has the right to shoot.
Attractive Nuisance Laws: Child Injured while Trespassing
Another exception can occur when the trespasser is a child, particularly if the property includes something likely to attract children like a pool or trampoline. If the court determines the child was not able to comprehend the danger, the property owner may be liable for the injury. Warshafsky’s personal injury attorneys hold landowners responsible when children are harmed in these situations.
Do You Have a Case for Being Injured while Trespassing?
The best way to know if you have any chance at winning in court is to get the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney, which is exactly why Warshafsky Law offers a free, no-obligation consultation. After you meet with one of our attorneys (either in-person or over the phone), we’ll let you know if you have a case to receive compensation or not.
The Personal Injury Attorneys of Warshafsky Law: Don’t Go to Court Without One!
When it comes to personal injury cases, no one brings as much experience and expertise to the table as Warshafsky Law. If there’s any way to win a trespassing injury suit, we’ll find it. And while we pursue your case, you won’t pay a dime. Only after your case is resolved and you have been compensated do we ask for payment.
No-Win, No-Fee Guarantee from Us is a No Risk Proposition for You
Our No-Win, No-Fee guarantee ensures you won’t owe us a thing until you get compensation. In the unlikely case your lawsuit doesn't bring you compensation, you don't have to pay us a penny.
Of course, when we take on a case, we have every confidence in winning.