In New York, the majority of accidents that occur on another party’s property are covered under premises liability law. Premises liability holds the property owner liable for injuries sustained on his property. However, premises liability law does not typically cover those who are trespassing on the property at the time of injury. But there are certain exceptions that allow those injured while trespassing to recover damages.
Duties of a Property Owner
A property owner has certain legal duties. In a premises liability case, the property owner has a duty to ensure that his property is relatively free from harm or hazardous conditions. If a property owner is aware of a hazardous condition, then the property owner has a legal duty to remove or correct the hazard.
If a person himself sustains an injury on the property because the property owner failed to uphold his duty, then the property owner may be liable for injuries.
Circumstances When a Property Owner is Liable
However, there is an exception to the above rule: while a property owner will be liable for injuries sustained if the injury occurred because the property owner acted negligently, the law is not applicable unless the injured person was lawfully on the property at the time of injury. An injured person must be an invitee or licensee to be legally on the property.
The former refers to those who are invited onto the property by the property owner for the property owner’s benefit, like a customer at a store; the latter to those who have the property owner’s consent to enter the property, like a personal guest at a residence.
If a victim does not fall into either category, and instead falls into the third category – trespasser – then no legal obligation from the property owner to the victim is present. But there are some exceptions.
Situations in Which a Property Owner is Liable for a Trespasser’s Injuries
In very specific situations, a property owner will be liable for the injuries a trespasser suffers. These situations are detailed below.
- The property owner caused willful or wanton harm to the trespasser
- The trespasser’s presence on the property was known to the property owner, but the property owner failed to make hazardous conditions known to the trespasser
- The trespasser was a child
If any of the above conditions are met, then the property owner may be liable for the victim’s injuries, regardless of whether or not the victim was lawfully on the property at the time of accident or not. Review your specific case with an attorney.
Hire a New York Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you were trespassing on property in New York and were harmed, you may have a premises liability case. For a free case review to determine whether or not you may be entitled to damages, call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., today. Call us now at 800-550-0000 or fill out our online contact form to set up your consultation.