blog home Premises Liability Can a Trespasser Injured on Someone’s Property Pursue Compensation for Personal Injuries?

By Renee Nordstrand on September 17, 2022

no trespassing/keep out sign

Property owners are required to take reasonable care to ensure that any visitors on their property are kept safe from injuries. If the property owner does not maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition for visitors, they can be held liable if someone is injured on their property.

Generally, a property owner must keep their property in a reasonably safe condition for all people who enter their property, regardless of their status. This means that in certain circumstances, if a person is injured on someone’s property, whether they are invited or a trespasser, the property owner will be held liable if the property was not safe.

This area of premises liability can get a bit tricky, so it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Get in contact with the experienced team at NordstrandBlack PC for valuable support and advice. Call us today at (805) 962-2022.

Can I Pursue Premises Liability Compensation If I Were Trespassing?

Most property owners assume they will not have any legal responsibility for trespassers who are on their property without invitation, but this is not the case. Generally, a property owner still owes a duty of care to trespassers under the law.

The difference is that property owners do not have a legal obligation to keep the trespasser reasonably safe as they would with invited visitors. They simply must ensure that their premises does not have any known hazards that could cause injury.

The property owner’s duties of care will change depending on the type of trespasser.

Undiscovered trespasser

The first type of trespasser is the undiscovered trespasser. This means that the person has unlawfully entered someone else’s property without the owner knowing. In this situation, the property owner has no legal obligation to protect the undiscovered trespasser, but they may not intentionally inflict harm.

Discovered trespasser

The second type of trespasser is a discovered trespasser. If a property owner discovers a trespasser on their land, they must lawfully warn them of the risks or dangerous conditions they are aware of. A property owner only needs to do this if it is reasonably necessary to prevent the trespasser from injuring themselves.


The third type of trespasser is a minor. If a minor is trespassing on your land, a property owner owes the minor the highest duty of care. Minors are an important exception to the trespassing liability rules because under the law a minor is treated as an invitee. If an invitee enters a property, the property owner must repair any known defects in a timely manner and post warning signs of any known risks. These duties apply to trespassers who are minors, and if a minor gets injured on the property as a result, the property owner will be liable.

Another exception to the trespasser rule is if a property owner’s wilful and wanton conduct injures a trespasser. Property owners must refrain from injuring trespassers intentionally or by disregarding their safety. Another exception applies to properties with dangerous or aggressive dogs. If you own a dog that you know is dangerous, you could be liable for an injury caused by the dog, even to a trespasser.

How a Lawyer Can Help Make All of These Determinations

If you have been injured on someone else’s property as a trespasser, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side who can help you determine whether you will be entitled to compensation.

Premises liability is a complex area of the law and requires an attorney to analyze the situation and the duties of the property owner. The team at NordstrandBlack PC can help you. Call us at (805) 962-2022.

Posted in: Premises Liability