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Injured On Private Property In Atlanta While Trespassing

By Butler Prather LLP on February 18, 2020

Premises liability laws generally maintain that property owners have a duty to ensure that their properties are reasonably safe for those who have a right to be there. Visitors who enter a premises legally are referred to as invitees or licensees. In general, property owners are liable for injuries to visitors if they suffer injuries while on the owner’s premises if those injuries are caused by the property owner’s negligent or careless actions.

However, the law becomes more complicated when it comes to trespassers who do not have a legal right to be on a person’s property. Generally, property owners are not liable for injuries that occur to trespassers. There are exceptions to this rule.

Tresspasser injury

Can a Trespasser Sue a Property Owner for Injuries?

In general, property owners do not have a legal responsibility to keep trespassers on their property safe. However, exceptions to this rule are as follows:

  • Intentional injuries: It is illegal for a Georgia property owner to injure a trespasser intentionally. This includes placing traps to injure trespassers. Contrary to popular belief, property owners are also not allowed to shoot trespassers, unless the trespasser has presented a credible threat of harm to others on the property. If you were trespassing on another person’s property and posed no credible threat of harm, but a property owner intentionally hurt you, you may have an assault and battery claim.
  • Known trespassers: Property owners do not have a duty of care to unknown trespassers on their property. However, they have a duty to warn trespassers of hazards that they know about. This may seem unfair, but it is still the case that property owners must warn known trespassers known potential dangers.

Understanding the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

Another major exception to the trespassing laws in Georgia includes what are known as attractive nuisance laws. These laws are designed to protect children who do not have the mental capacity to comprehend the dangers of trespassing on another person’s property. Property owners have a duty of care to protect children from potentially attractive objects that are on their property (swimming pools, swing sets, hot tubs, trampolines, abandoned vehicles, construction materials, etc.).

Property owners should properly secure or cordon off these areas so that children do not have access to them. For example, a large swimming pool in a person’s backyard that has water slides and children’s toys scattered around is certainly something that children may try to get to. A fence with a locking gate should be erected in order to prevent unwanted guests from getting to the swimming pool.

Do You Need an Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyer for These Cases?

If you were on another person’s property and were injured due to the negligence or careless actions of the property owner, you may need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. You should certainly seek assistance from an attorney if your child was injured on another person’s property. You may have been accused of trespassing in this case, but that does not mean you should receive no compensation for what happened. Georgia law does not protect a property owner from every instance of trespasser injuries on their property. You could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering damages, and more. An Atlanta premises liability attorney will be able to review your case and help you formulate the best path forward.

Posted in: Premises Liability

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