If someone trespasses on my property and gets hurt, am I liable? As a property owner, California premises liability law requires that you maintain a safe environment on your premises to prevent injury to invitees. But, what is your obligation to a trespasser or someone who you have not invited directly or implicitly to your property?
If someone gets injured on your property, you may be held liable for the resulting damages. The lines may be blurred when the injured party was a trespasser. Consult a Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorney at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers to review your legal options and schedule a free consultation.
Premises Liability in California
CACI No. 1000 Premises Liability in California spells out the relationship between a property owner and visitors to their property. According to state laws, a property owner is required to exercise a reasonable level of care in managing their property to prevent exposing people to unreasonable harm. If they fail to honor this duty of care, they may be found negligent and held liable for damages.
Previously, landlords and property owners were expected to maintain safety on their property, even when it was not open to the general public. The law also states that owners did not owe any duty of care to people who accessed the property illegally, but this is no longer the case.
Currently, landowners must provide safety on their property to all people who visit it, regardless of their status. This means that you may be held liable for injuries sustained by a worker, invitee, or trespasser.
As a general principle, landowners owe trespassers a lower duty of care than people invited to the property. This is because they cannot be expected to anticipate the presence of trespassers on their premises and can therefore not warn them about safety hazards.
That said, property owners may hold a higher duty of care to discovered trespassers, who visit the land regularly. It is assumed that they can anticipate how dangerous conditions may affect the trespasser.
For example, if you know that people use your farm as a short cut, you may be required to post signs warning trespassers of dangerous conditions.
Willful and Wanton Conduct
Even after posting warning signs to alert trespassers of possible danger, you are also expected to refrain from willful and wanton conduct that could harm them. This means that you cannot use deadly force, such as gunning down a trespasser, to protect your property.
Contact a Huntington Beach Lawyer
Are you liable if someone trespasses on my property and gets hurt? While it is the property owner’s responsibility to remove all dangerous conditions from their property, you do not owe trespassers the same level of care as invitees. This does not mean, however, that you may not be liable for damages.
The Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorneys at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers are dedicated to helping injury victims get compensated for their injuries. If you believe you have a premises liability case, contact us at 888-540-0325 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your next steps.