When is a Property Owner Responsible for a Trespasser’s Injury?

July 23, 2020

In most cases, a property owner is aware that they are responsible for injuries that occur on their property. This is why it is always a good idea to have insurance on a property; yet, insurance may not cover all damages.

The general rule is that homeowners are not responsible for injuries that occur to trespassers. Trespassers are people that are not expected or invited onto the property. On the other hand, property owners must be aware that, like in many areas of the law, there are exceptions to the general rule.

What Can Cause a Trespasser to be Injured on a Property?

A trespasser can be injured on a property in several situations. In some situations, a property owner can be held liable, including the following:

Dangerous Dog

If the property owner is aware that their dog has dangerous tendencies, the owner has a duty to warn potential trespassers. The property owner cannot be negligent with the dog, either. If the owner posts warning signs and takes reasonable measures, then it may reduce the owner’s liability for any injuries that were caused by the dog.

Property Condition

For example, if the owner created some sort of a trap that could injure trespassers, then this creates a situation where the owner may be liable for injuries incurred by trespassers.

Attractive Nuisance

This means a condition or something that would normally attract children to a property. The most common example of an attractive nuisance is a pool. If the pool is not properly maintained or fenced according to local regulations, the property owner may be liable for injuries sustained to children who wander onto the property as a result of being attracted to the pool or another type of attractive nuisance. This could include an abandoned swing set or a structure that could inspire children to climb on it.

Lost Trespasser

If a person becomes lost on the property and is injured, then the owner may be liable. It must be proven that the trespasser was reasonably lost.

Implied Permission

If the owner is aware that people are regularly trespassing on the property, they may be liable. For example, a trespasser looking to fish in a pond because the owner has never taken any action in the past to stop it. The trespasser may argue that they had implied permission to be on the property; therefore, the owner should be liable for any injuries that occurred while on the property.

What is a Property Owner’s Responsibility?

Although property owners may feel as though they can act freely, they still have a general duty of care to maintain a property. Under premises liability law, a property owner must reasonably maintain a property to ensure that it is safe. A property owner must not intentionally create dangerous conditions.

Additionally, using deadly force to defend a property is generally not a winning defense unless the property owner’s life was in danger. Even in a dangerous situation, state laws vary.

If a trespasser is injured in a slip and fall accident or another accident on a property, it is advisable to contact a lawyer. It may be difficult to prove that a trespasser was innocently hurt on a property, so it is important to seek legal representation right away.

Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. Help Victims Who Were Injured on Dangerous Properties

In some cases, a property owner can be held liable if a trespasser is injured on their property. If you believe a negligent property owner caused your injury, it is important to speak to a lawyer immediately. Our Philadelphia slip and fall lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. hold property owners accountable for their negligent actions. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-9100 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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