As a Providence, RI, homeowner, you may be held legally responsible for trespasser slip and fall injuries. This may come as a surprise to many homeowners because they believe it is not their responsibility to worry about the safety of trespassers on their property.
According to the U.S census bureau, out of 135 million homes, 64% are owner occupied. Homeowners have rights and responsibilities. They have a right to do whatever they want with their homes. Home ownership rights, however, are relatively extensive and you may be limited by certain laws in Rhode Island.
Just like Rhode Island homeowner laws can regulate the changes you can make to your property, there are also laws that obligate you to maintain your property so as to prevent trespasser slip and fall injuries. This is also what is referred to as premises liability.
Trespassers don’t necessarily consist of law breakers; they might include people like social guests, the delivery guy, etc.
Premises liability is defined as potential legal responsibility that you as the homeowner will have when a person is injured on your property due to unsafe conditions.
Generally, you are not legally obligated to compensate a trespasser who is injured on your property. However, there are three types of trespassers and your legal obligations differ when it comes to all three of them.
1. The Undiscovered Trespasser
This is a trespasser who enters your property without your knowledge and invitation. If such a trespasser is injured while on your property, you will not be legally obligated to compensate them provided you did not intentionally harm them.
Intentional infliction of harm is against the law and you will be held legally liable for your actions. For instance, if an undiscovered trespasser slips and falls on water you had poured outside your front porch, you will not be held legally responsible for their injuries. This is on condition that you were not aware of their presence on your front porch.
On the other hand, if you intentionally set traps for trespassers to slip and fall or to simply deter them from your property, you might face a slip and fall accident lawsuit if anyone is injured as a result.
2. The Discovered Trespasser
Once you spot a trespasser on your property, you are obligated to warn them of any danger within your property or make the conditions on your property as safe as possible for them to avoid possible injury.
For instance, if people routinely walk across your backyard on their way to the park, you can warn them of any potential dangers that exist. You should put warning signs or a fence around the hole as a precautionary measure.
3. The Child Trespasser
Kids are naturally playful and curious so they may wander onto your property without permission. If you set traps or intentionally lure kids onto your property with the intent to cause physical harm, and injuries occur, you will be held liable.
Such kinds of traps for kids is known as an “attractive nuisance” and they include things like heavy machinery, unguarded swimming pools, etc. This, however, does not include things such as lakes, ponds and other naturally occurring hazards.
It is your duty as a homeowner to regularly inspect your property to ensure it does not have any artificial hazards that might lure child trespassers. If you find any hazards on your property, it is your duty to safeguard the safety of children by fixing or fencing the area to prevent children from getting injured.
If you do not take necessary steps to safeguard the safety of the kids, you will most likely be held liable for any resulting injuries. In most cases, the cost of fixing a potential hazard is usually lower than that of paying for damages that result from trespasser slip and fall injuries.
Working with a Providence Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer
If your child or other loved one is the victim of a trespasser slip and fall injury and the injuries are minor, it probably won’t be worth it to file a personal injury claim. However, if the injuries are severe, it is important that you review the case with a Providence slip and fall accident lawyer as soon as possible.
At Kevin P Landry Law Offices, we do not charge for initial consultations. Get in touch with us today to book your free initial consultation by calling 401-751-0101.
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