If a trespasser is injured on your property while you are away, are you liable?

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If a trespasser is injured on your property while you are away, are you liable?

Asked on June 14, 2013 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

Tricia Dwyer / Tricia Dwyer Esq & Associates PLLC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Hello. The answer to your question depends in large part on state law in relation to the detailed facts of the occurrence. Please contact an attorney in the involved state for private legal advice; this website provides general information, not legal advice for individual legal issues. Some attorneys are available seven days for emergency legal needs. Many attorneys will confer initially at no charge. Then, if legal work is performed, some attorneys will provide a reduced fee for financial hardship. Some attorneys may also assist you in limited scope manner to conserve legal costs. All the best.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The liability of property owners vary depending on the state where the injury occurred. Some states, focus on the status of the injured visitor in determining the liability. Other states focus on the condition of the property and the activities of the owner and injured party.

In "status" states the courts are tend to distinguish between those legally on the property and those on the property illegally (trespassers).  In such states, tresspassers have no right to sue a landowner for any injuries sustained while on their property.

In states considering the condition of the property and the activities of the parties, a uniform standard of reasonable care is applied, except for a tresspasser. A trespasser enters without any right to do so, accordingly there is no implied promise that reasonable care has been made to assure the safety of the property. That having been said, if the owner knows that it is likely trespassers will enter the property due to an artifiacial condition which they created and or maintained, they may be charged with a duty to give reasonable warning. However, in such cases where there is a dangerous artificial condition, a property owner does need to warn potential trespassers if the condition is obvious.

At this point, you should consult with a local attorney regarding your states specific law in this type situation.


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