Injured While Trespassing? What You Need to Know

If you are injured while trespassing, you may assume that you cannot recover compensation since you were partaking in an illegal activity. But, in some cases, you can recover compensation for an injury incurred while trespassing. Read on to learn more.

The General Rule

For the most part, a property owner will not be held responsible for any injuries a trespasser incurs. While this is the general rule of thumb, it is not always the case, and there are some exceptions.

The Exceptions

The following examples are exceptions to the general rule. A property owner may be held responsible if the injury is incurred due to:

  • Discovered trespassers
  • Willful and wanton conduct
  • Dangerous dogs

Discovered Trespassers:

Usually, a property owner does not assume that trespassers will walk on his or her property. But, if the property owner is aware that trespassers frequent his property, he will have to warn them of any hazards on the property. This may occur if your yard is a popular shortcut that the locals in town use, for example. At this point, you cannot claim that you were unaware of trespassers. Instead, you will have to take precautions to make sure these trespassers do not become injured. You may do this by placing signs on your property with warnings.

Willful and Wanton Conduct:

If you engage in dangerous activities on your property, you will need to warn trespassers. For example, if you practice shooting in your backyard and you injure a trespasser or passerby, you may be held responsible. It is also important to know the guidelines of deadly force in your state. For example, there is a big difference between harming a burglar who breaks into your home and harming someone who is simply walking through your backyard as a shortcut.

Dangerous Dogs

Some dogs are dangerous to people and other pets. If you have a dog that could cause harm to someone who enters your property, you will want to put up signs warning trespassers to stay away. Failing to warn trespassers of a dangerous dog can be considered negligent.

If you have become injured on another individual’s property, contact our firm to discuss who will be held responsible and your potential options. We understand the burden injuries can have on your physical, mental, and financial health, and we want to help you recover the compensation you deserve.


Stathis & Leonardis, LLC is an experienced personal injury law firm in Middlesex County, New Jersey that is committed to helping clients who have been hurt due to another party’s negligence. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or were injured on another person’s property, please do not hesitate to contact our firm today.

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