Are property owners liable for a trespasser’s injuries?

June 17, 2022 | Premises Liability

Property owners in Florida are required to keep their premises in safe conditions for visitors. However, it’s important to know what can happen if a trespasser enters the property and suffers an injury.

Who is considered a trespasser?

A trespasser is any person who willfully enters a property without permission or an invitation to be there. If the property owner sees such a person and tells them to leave, the trespasser might refuse. This is considered against the law as they have no authority to be on the property. Trespassing is a misdemeanor offense if the person isn’t armed. However, if they are armed, the crime is considered a third-degree felony.

What happens if a trespasser is injured on your property?

According to Florida law, if a trespasser enters your property while under the influence and suffers a personal injury, you are not liable for their injuries. You can only be held liable if the trespasser had a reasonable belief that they were welcome on your property.

At the same time, there are instances when you might be liable for injuries or death sustained by a trespasser on your property. If the injuries or death were caused by an intentional act or gross negligence, Florida law allows property owners to be held liable.

If a trespasser enters your property and you become aware of that fact, premises liability law obligates you to issue warnings to them of potentially dangerous conditions. If you fail to warn the trespasser, you could be considered responsible if they end up injured or dead.

Florida also has stand your ground laws, which allow a property owner to protect their premises against a trespasser. When force is used in this way, it can complicate the case. Knowing your rights in any given situation is important.

Property owners have the right to protect their property. Depending on the situation, you may or may not be liable for a trespasser’s injuries.

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