A trespasser is someone who doesn’t have permission or legal authority to enter someone’s property. Although the general rule is that property owners are not responsible for the safety or well-being of trespassers, there are exceptions to this rule. Property owners may still be held liable for a trespasser’s injuries in certain circumstances.
Personal injury claims and lawsuits can be incredibly complex and often require extensive investigation. Working with a seasoned and skilled personal injury lawyer is key to building a strong claim for fair compensation. At Mintz Law Firm, our legal team is committed to helping people injured by someone else’s negligence secure favorable outcomes that help them get their lives back on track. Contact Mintz Law Firm to start building your personal injury claim.
What Is a Property Owner’s Responsibility Towards a Trespasser?
In Colorado, the law determines a property owner’s responsibility to protect guests by categorizing them into three categories.
An invitee is a person invited to the property to conduct business for the benefit of the property owner. As such, the property owner owes them a duty of care. An invitee may collect damages for injuries caused by a property owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against the danger they knew or should have known about.
A licensee is a person who is on the property for the licensee’s own interests or convenience. For instance, a guest at a home is considered a licensee. Licensees may collect damages for injuries if the property owner fails to use reasonable care regarding known hazards or unreasonable failure to warn of existing dangers.
A trespasser is someone on the property without permission. They are owed the lowest duty of care and may only collect damages for injuries that are willfully or deliberately caused by the property owner. An exception is the attractive nuisance doctrine, which holds property owners responsible for injuries to children lured onto the property by an item that is attractive to children. Examples include swimming pools, treehouses, trampolines, and other such items. In these instances, a property owner may be liable if the following apply:
- The property owner should have known the item was likely to draw trespassing children.
- The condition of the item or object had the potential to result in serious harm to children.
- The child was too young to understand the risk.
- The cost to correct the potential hazard was minimal compared to the risk to children.
- The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to eliminate the risk.
Colorado’s attractive nuisance is applicable in all cases involving children, even if they were trespassing.
Another exception to the trespassing rule is situations involving dangerous dogs on the property. Colorado considers a dog dangerous if it has officially been given this designation by an animal control authority. If the property is known to harbor a dangerous dog, they are legally responsible for taking reasonable precautions to prevent injuries to others, including trespassers, in certain situations.
Experienced and Skilled Premises Liability Attorney at Mintz Law Firm
The experienced and compassionate team at Mintz Law Firm is committed to helping each of our clients receive prompt medical care and fair compensation for their medical needs and damages associated with the accident. Our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping injured individuals navigate the process and helping them obtain the best possible solutions to their claims.
When it comes to an accident that has impacted your health, livelihood, and financial stability, it’s important to have strong representation at your side. Mintz Law Firm is here to help. Schedule a consultation through our online contact form or call (303) 462-2999.