Am I liable for someone injured climbing over my fence?

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Am I liable for someone injured climbing over my fence?

I have a fenced back yard that backs up to a golf course. Occasionally kids, and sometimes adults, climb my fence to get access to the golf course or to pass from the golf course to the residential street. These trespassers are typically not paying golfers, they are passing through or seeking to get on the course to poach a few free holes of golf. When I see someone beginning to climb the fence I ask them not to. Am I liable in the event someone is injured doing this, and what do I do to protect myself from such liability?

Asked on June 12, 2012 under Personal Injury, Colorado

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As the owner of the property, you are liable if a trespasser is injured climbing your fence.  You would be liable for the trespasser's medical bills, pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills, and wage loss.  Your homeowner's insurance policy may provide coverage if a trespasser is injured on your property and files a claim.

As for avoiding liability, other than making it impossible for someone to attempt to climb the fence, there may not be any other alternative.  If you made the fence too tall to be scaled and with razor wire on top of it, that might discourage trespassing, but unfortunately if some trespasser still tried to climb the fence and was injured, you would still be liable as the landowner. 


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