Unfortunately, a trespasser on your property who is injured in a premises liability accident may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against you. However, the type of guest a person is matters in Virginia, and your duties to a trespasser are limited.
When Can a Trespasser Sue You for His Injuries?
In Virginia, there are three types of guests: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Your duties to each are different, and you have the least duty to a trespasser. A trespasser is an individual who enters the property of another without permission or any right to do so. Your duty to him is only to not intentionally or wantonly injure him.
Like with other rules, there are exceptions to this law. A trespasser may be able to sue you in these situations:
- If the trespass is of such a nature and so frequent that you should have known of the trespass and the likely danger to the trespasser, you could face liability.
- Under the “dangerous instrumentality doctrine,” you can be found negligent if you leave on your property an instrument, appliance, or machine that is easily accessible to children and that has hidden, concealed, or latent dangers. These dangerous items must be in an area that you know or should reasonably know that children gather in. If a child is seven-years-old or younger and is injured, he cannot be considered negligent under Virginia law.
What to Do If a Trespasser Is Injured on Your Property in a Premises Liability Accident
If a trespasser is injured while on your property, you should retain an experienced premises liability accident lawyer as soon as possible. He can help you build a strong defense to this person’s claim. In addition to showing that the exceptions discussed above do not apply, an attorney can prove that the trespasser’s comparative fault caused his injuries.
Do you have other questions about your liability to a trespasser? Do you need to file a claim after suffering injuries in a premises liability accident? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you.