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Can a Trespasser Sue if They are Injured on a Property?


People who own a home or commercial property have a responsibility to safely maintain that property for their guests. The failure to do this can result in severe injuries, and if a victim decides to sue, the property owner may have to pay damages.

What if someone isn’t a guest and is injured because of a property owner’s negligence? Can a person who is trespassing successfully recover compensation for their suffering?

In general, no — an individual who is breaking the law by trespassing waives their right to sue for injury damages by doing so. However, there are some exceptions that allow certain trespassers to collect compensation if they are injured on an unsafe premises.

Intentional Harm

In many premises liability cases, property owners are responsible for their negligence, but they don’t usually intend to harm anyone. A liable owner may have been aware in some capacity that their forgetfulness or oversight could potentially cause harm, but do not wish for anyone to get hurt. However, if a trespasser can prove that the property owner intended to harm them, they may be able to sue. This possibility may depend on trespassing laws in the state.

Children who “Trespass”

The inability to sue in cases of trespassing does not apply if the trespasser is a child. Known as the “attractive nuisance doctrine,” this exception to the rule protects minors who are injured on an unsafe property. The doctrine is based on the expectation that children can easily wander into unsafe situations, regardless of adequate warnings. When a child wanders onto a property, it is not considered the same as an adult trespassing. Property owners who do not safely maintain their home or business and cause harm to a child can be liable.

The attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Stanley protect injury victims who suffered because of a property owner’s negligence. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.

Call (817) 591-4222 or use our contact form to speak with our lawyers during a no-cost case evaluation.
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