Liability on property

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Liability on property

My husband and I own a farm and it has a
dilapidated house on it. No one lives on the
property but we cant get it insured until the
house comes down. If someone is trespassing
and gets injured on our property will we be
liable

Asked on February 16, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be held liable if the injury was due to some unreasonably dangerous condition, like a stair that is cracking and breaks underfoot or railing that will not support any weight if someone leans on it, or nails sticking out of floor boards, etc. While many people--myself included--disagree with the following, it is nonetheless a firm legal principle that a property owner owes a duty of care to everyone, including illegal trespassers, on the property to protect them from unreasonably dangerous conditions. So if anyone, even a trespasser, is injured due to a condition on the property, you can be liable for it. 
If the injury has nothing to do with the property's condition (e.g. they break into the house while drunk, and because they are drunk, fall down the stairs), you would not be liable.


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