Who Is Responsible for Injuries Trespassers Receive on Your Property?
Are you responsible for another person’s injuries if they happen on your property? Initially, you may believe the answer is yes. But, there are some limitations. If a trespasser enters your property, you still have some responsibility for providing a safe space. However, when your home insurance pays out depends on a variety of factors. Here is what you need to know.
Generally, Trespassers Do Not Get a Free Pass
Trespassers or individuals warned not to enter your property who do so anyway, do not instantly have coverage for their injuries under your home insurance plan. Most often, you are not responsible for their injuries. In most situations, such instances will receive no support from a court of law.
However, an individual may try to prove they have the right to loss coverage. In short, there are some exemptions that could apply.
How Often Do They Do So?
One key concern has to do with how often the trespasser enters the problem. If an individual regularly uses the property, for example, as a cut-through, and they are not told not to do so, they may have some expectation that they can continue to do so. For example, someone might routinely walk through your back field to get to work. If you don't tell them not to, they might have no idea that there is a problem. In this case, the property owner knows the trespassing is occurring, and he or she has not warned the party. They also have not minimized the risk to the party on the property.
Willful and Wanton Conduct
This rule is one that applies in most states. If you engage in activities that are inherently dangerous, such as shooting a rifle on the property, you may have an obligation to ensure what you are doing is safe if a trespasser enters the problem. For example, if you set up traps along your property to target trespassers, this is not going to work. Generally, if you set up a situation in which a person could suffer injuries at your hand, then you may be liable for those injuries.
It is important to protect your property. There is no situation in which you can guarantee your property is safe. If someone enters your property, knowing you do not want them there, trips over a stone, and falls, you are not likely responsible for their injuries. Yet, other situations can be difficult. It is important to work to keep your property safe for those you wish to enter and those you do not. Let your home insurance agent help you decide this.