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Got Hurt While Trespassing. What Can I Do Now?

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So, you found it impossible to stay off the property of another? You knew it was wrong but decided to do it anyway. Perhaps you were using their swimming pool, taking a dip on a hot summer night. Maybe you slept in their house while they were on a long vacation. It is even possible that you took a shortcut through their property on the way to work or school. For whatever the reason, you have trespassed.  

If you get hurt, though, what happens? After all, you might have medical bills, lost wages and emotional scars. Does the owner bear any responsibility?

Now, had they invited you over, this would be a clear-cut issue. Any slip and fall, for example, that they should have foreseen, would be their fault. But, when you are an invited "guest," things are different.


The law discourages trespassing. Landowners have a right to their privacy. You can be arrested if caught in the act. Also, any damage you cause can wind you in civil court.

Owner Duty to Protect

Nevertheless, all is not lost if you were trespassing on the land of another and got hurt. In most cases, the landlord still owes a duty to protect an uninvited guest, assuming there was prior knowledge of the trespass.

In effect, once you have served notice of an intent to trespass and use the property, the owner cannot intentionally leave harmful obstacles in your way. They also have to remove any known dangers, if possible. Inaction is not a defense

For example, in the above pool scenario, the owner could be forced to pay for any resulting skin damage caused by a strong chemical put in the water to deter you.

Get Legal Help if You Are an Injured Trespasser

So, as shown here, trespassers have rights. Again, it is never a wise decision to use the property of another without express permission. You can be arrested. Also, remember that in the heat of the moment, a landowner may be allowed to threaten you and, perhaps, use lethal force.

Yet, you do have options if hurt. Once clearly aware of your presence and intent to use their property in a non-threatening way, or of your frequent use, the owner cannot allow harm to come your way.

If, for some reason, you were an uninvited visitor and got injured, contact a personal injury attorney (such as one from Conway Pauley & Johnson PC Attys​) to discuss possible solutions, including a monetary claim. Even though a trespasser, you have protection under the American justice system.