When someone is injured on another person’s property, they may claim that the property owner is responsible for their harm. That owner may have created a dangerous condition, or at least neglected conditions that existed, rather than making the property safe. An example of this could be if someone trips and falls on the neighbor’s sidewalk or slips and falls on shared stairs in an apartment building.
However, the ability to make such claims usually just applies to people who were supposed to be on that property and had a right to be there. But what if they didn’t? What if they were trespassing? Is there any situation in which a trespasser could be injured and still seek compensation from a property owner?
An attractive nuisance
One way in which this can happen is if the injuries were caused by an attractive nuisance. This is something that is generally attractive to children, but that is also dangerous to them. An example would be a backyard pool. If someone is neglectful and doesn’t put a fence around a pool, and then a child falls into the pool, their parents may be able to seek compensation for the child’s harm. After all, a young child doesn’t even understand that they are trespassing in the first place. Property owners need to know when elements of their property are dangerous, and they must take the proper steps to reduce that danger accordingly.
Booby traps and intentional injuries
Another circumstance under which a trespasser could potentially seek compensation is when the victim suffered injuries that were intentionally caused. An example of this is if a property owner sets booby traps, which are illegal. Even if they’re worried about somebody trespassing on their property, they cannot set up traps that are intended to harm. This is different than a self-defense case, wherein someone comes onto the property maliciously and force is used by the property owner. Setting traps in advance creates a dangerous condition – which means that the owner may be liable, in many cases, even when the person who was injured was not supposed to enter the property in the first place.
Of course, cases like this can become incredibly complicated. It’s very important for those involved to understand all the legal options at their disposal. Seeking legal guidance, regardless of the circumstances in question, is usually the best first step forward.