As a property owner, you want to protect yourself from lawsuits due to injuries on that property. Many owners assume that only people who are allowed to be on the property at the time would have the right to sue. In other words, someone who is trespassing was never supposed to be there in the first place, so the property owner shouldn’t be liable if that person gets injured.
But this is certainly not always true. There are cases in which even trespassers can seek compensation. Property owners need to be aware of this so that they can take the proper steps to prevent these injuries. Here are two examples of how this can happen.
If there is an attractive nuisance
First of all, the trespasser may be a child who has seen an attractive nuisance on the property. An example of this could be a playground or a pool. If a property owner shows some element of negligence – such as not putting a fence with a gate around the pool – then they could be sued under the attractive nuisance doctrine. Young children may not understand that they are trespassing to begin with.
If the injuries were intentional
It’s also illegal for property owners to set up traps or other devices that may cause harm. Even if it seems like an illegal entry is likely – such as when a business owner is worried about a break-in after hours – they cannot use booby traps as deterrents. A business owner could still face a civil lawsuit, even if the person who was injured is the subject of a criminal investigation.
Understanding how these laws work can help property owners take the right steps to protect themselves from liability. But if they face lawsuits anyway, they certainly need to know what legal options they have.