Are Property Owners Liable To Trespassers?

  • By:Rex Daines
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What happens if you are trespassing on someone else’s land and are injured? Do you have a case?

Everything depends on the facts of your particular case. That’s why it’s important to have competent counsel in your corner. We are experienced personal injury attorneys. We practice in Oregon and we provide free consultations to assist you.

In law, actions concerning injury to persons are called “personal injury” cases. Personal injury cases that occur because of the negligence of a land owner or premises occupier are commonly called “premises liability” cases.

Let’s take a closer look at Premises Liability and whether it protects trespassers.

What is Premises Liability?

First, premises liability is the general rule that says that all property owners have a duty to maintain their land to a certain standard. The rule exists to protect people who come onto another’s property. The law tries to protect people from unnecessary injury. It applies to private as well as public properties.

But does it apply to trespassers?

Let’s see.

Who Does The Law Protect?

To decide when and to what extent a property owner is responsible for injuries that occur to people who enter onto the owner’s property, the law divides people into different classes. They are:

  • Licensee —someone who is present for his own purposes, but enters with permission of the owner.
  • Social guest—is someone that is a guest, present with the owner’s permission.
  • Business Invitee— customers, or others who enter the property at the invitation, and for the benefit of the owner. This invitation usually implies that the property owner has taken reasonable steps to make the property safe.
  • Trespasser— someone who enters the premises without permission and has no right to be on the property.

Does Premises Liability Protect Trespassers?

Generally, no. A trespasser is someone who enters onto property without the right to be there. If you do not have permission to be on the property, you are trespassing.

Property owners do not have a legal duty to protect trespassers from injury by exercising reasonable care to either keep the premises in reasonably safe condition or to carry out activities so as not to endanger trespassers.

On the other hand, you can’t go setting booby traps or make other efforts to actively injure a trespasser. Further, if the property owner knows people are trespassing on his property, the owner could be held liable if a trespasser seriously injures himself or herself if the property owner created conditions that were dangerous but hid them.

Consult With an Attorney.

Personal injury cases are never cut-and-dried. If someone has been injured on your property, or if you or someone you love has been injured, you should consider talking with an attorney. We provide free consultations and we have offices throughout Oregon and in Washington. Visit our website or call us toll free at: 1-800-682.9568.

Posted in: Personal Injury, Slip and Fall

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