Can I Still Sue for Personal Injury if I Was Trespassing?
Generally speaking, if you get hurt while on someone else’s property, you’re entitled to compensation. You can either file a claim against their insurance company or file a lawsuit against them. It depends on the situation. Most Georgia personal injury cases rely on negligence. This means your lawyer has to prove the following in order for you to recover:
- Defendant owed you a duty of care
- He breached his duty
- You were injured
- Your injuries were caused by his breach of duty
This is not an easy burden to overcome. However, in most accident cases, your lawyer will find a way to do it.
The issue is that, in order to be entitled to compensation, you usually have to be lawfully on the premises. This means that in most trespassing cases in Atlanta, you won’t be entitled to recover for your damages.
But, like most things, there are exceptions to the rule. Your Atlanta personal injury attorney is aware of these exceptions.
Atlanta, Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Know the Exceptions to the Rule
Generally speaking, landowners are not responsible for injuries to trespassers. The law doesn’t expect property owners to provide a duty of care to people who aren’t supposed to be on their property in the first place.
The law. However, is not designed to punish trespassers. It’s actually only created so that property owners aren’t expected to be liable in unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, there are times when a property owner can be subject to trespasser liability:
- The trespasser is known, discovered or expected: If an owner is aware that people constantly trespass on their property, he may be held to a duty of care. For example, if a house is located near a school, and the kids cut through every day when school lets out, a homeowner is expected to prepare for this. So, if there is a hazard on his property that could injure the kids, he is expected to correct it.
- Homeowner’s can’t act recklessly or wantonly: You’re not allowed to set traps or spring guns to injure trespassers. So, if someone does break into your house and is shot by a spring gun, you could be held liable for his injuries.
As you can see, the circumstances under which a trespasser can recover for his injuries are few and far between.
Personal Injury Lawyers in Atlanta Handle Trespasser Cases
If you were trespassing on someone’s property and get hurt, you’ll want to call a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta. You may be eligible to recover for your injuries. It depends on the particular circumstances of your case.
Here are some examples of when you may be able to recover for your injuries:
- The homeowner gave you permission to be on his property – This one is pretty clear. Let’s say that your neighbor told you to feel free to use the pool any time you want. It’s been months since you’ve last seen him buy you presume the invite is still good. You go in his yard to swim and end up cutting yourself on a torn fence. The homeowner may be liable for your injuries.
- The homeowner created a hazardous condition once he discovered you were on the property – This one’s a little trickier. From a criminal standpoint, homeowners are allowed to defend themselves while in their home. However, from a civil standpoint, things are a little different. If a homeowner throws a pot of hot boiling water in your face when he sees you in his yard, you may be able to recover. This is even more likely if you posed no threat to the homeowner.
- You’re trying to benefit the homeowner at the time of your trespass – Let’s assume that there’s a fire. You see your neighbor’s dog is trapped in his yard. You enter the yard to rescue the dog. Also, you end up falling on a pile of bricks that were hidden under a tarp. You suffer a brain injury. You may have a claim for damages.
It’s up to your Atlanta personal injury attorney to prove your case. Basically, you have to convince a judge that your case is the exception to the rule.
Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve gotten hurt while on someone else’s property, you should contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer. You may have a claim for damages even if you were trespassing at the time of your accident.
The law is pretty clear on trespasser liability. However, judges are willing to listen to reasonable arguments when it comes to recovering your damages.
Call and schedule your free initial consultation today. Let an experienced attorney review your case and let you know if you’re entitled to compensation.