Am I Liable For A Trespasser’s Injuries?
It seems like common sense that if someone comes onto your property without permission and is injured, you shouldn’t be liable. However, the law doesn’t always agree. While you are certainly not always liable for trespassers’ injuries, there are certain exceptions where you are.
When Are You Liable for Trespassers’ Injuries?
Rest assured, you are not liable just because someone tripped or fell after trespassing on your property. You are also not liable for open and obvious hazards that the trespasser should have been able to see and avoid. However, there are some instances where you may be found liable for a trespassers’ injuries. For one, if you used unreasonable and excessive force against a trespasser who posed no real threat (ex: pulling a gun on someone who was just asking for directions or delivering a package) you can be held liable for the harm caused. Notably, setting weaponized boobie-traps on your property to injure trespassers is both illegal and a basis for liability. Additionally, if you were aware the trespasser was on your property and that there were hazardous conditions present, you may be found liable if you failed to warn the trespasser of these known hazards and they were injured as a result. For instance, if you saw someone scaling your fence and failed to tell them (or post a sign indicating) that there was a rabid dog on the other side, you may be held liable for any injuries they sustain from the dog.
Trespassers are Liable for their Injuries Too
Maryland applies pure contributory negligence in personal injury situations. This means that the negligence of all parties will be considered and allocated in determining liability, and if the victim is found even 1% liable for their own injuries, it serves as a complete bar to recovery. If a trespasser knowingly entered another’s land, ignored posted warnings, or acted otherwise recklessly, they may be found to have contributed to their own harm, and therefore, be unable to recover any compensation or award.
What to do if You Are Injured on Another’s Property
If you are injured on another person’s property, regardless of whether you are a guest, customer, or trespasser, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Treating your injuries is important, and will also give you a sense of how severe and permanent they are. If your injuries are serious and will cause significant financial damage, it is a good idea to speak to a Maryland personal injury lawyer so that they can assess your claim and determine the best course of action to move forward.
Talk to an Attorney
If you have been injured on another’s property, it can be confusing trying to figure out the best course of action. The experienced Maryland personal injury attorneys at Berman | Sobin | Gross LLP, are prepared to review the specific facts and circumstances of your case and determine the best and most beneficial path to recovery. Call today to schedule a free consultation.