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Can you take legal action if you are injured while trespassing?

In general, property owners in New York, and elsewhere, have a responsibility to ensure there are not dangerous conditions on their properties. Should you be injured due to the negligence and unsafe state of a property, you may be entitled to financial compensation. If you were not on the property lawfully, however, you may not have grounds to take legal action.

When you, or others, enter someone’s land or property without his or her permission, it may be considered trespassing. Accordingly, the property owner does not owe you a duty of care, according to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. This means that he or she is not obligated to act reasonably toward you. Consequently, a property owner in this type of situation may not be held liable for your injuries in the event of an accident on the property. This is the case whether he or she knew there was a dangerous condition on the property, or not.

There are some exceptions to the trespassing rule when it comes to premises liability cases. Sometimes, a property owner may know that you are on his or her property, and allows your continued presence. In these cases, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York points out that the property owner may be held accountable for any damages you suffer due to injuries that were sustained because of dangerous property conditions.

The children and attractive nuisance doctrine is also applicable in premises liability cases that involve trespassing. There are some conditions, which may be attractive to children. An unfenced pool, for example, might entice a child to enter property that he or she was not invited onto. When such conditions exist, this doctrine holds that property owners may be held responsible for injuries suffered by children. In general, the children and attractive nuisance doctrine holds even if a child is an unknown trespasser on a property.

This post has provided an overview of premises liability cases involving trespassing. You should keep in mind, however, that each case is unique. Therefore, this should not be considered legal advice. Rather, it should only be taken as general information.

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