Trespassers and New Jersey premises liability claims

Even if you suffer an injury due to a hazardous condition on someone else’s property, you may not automatically be entitled to compensation. At Cooper Levenson, P.A., we know that the legal status of a visitor on someone’s New Jersey property will determine the validity of the case. Knowing the laws that govern these cases can give you a good idea of how your claim may progress.

Generally, people who are on someone else’s property could be classified as the following: 

  •        A social guest, which is someone who is welcome to be on the property
  •        An invitee, which is someone who has been invited onto the property
  •        A licensee, who has permission to be on the property for his or her own purposes
  •        A trespasser, who enters property without the right to do so

Social guests, invitees and licensees are all protected under premises liability laws. For example, a licensee such as an electrician who falls due to a hazardous condition on the property may be able to sue the owner.

However, a trespasser who has the exact same experience may not be able to hold the property owner accountable for damages. New Jersey law states that property owners do not have any duty of care toward trespassers except to avoid willfully injuring them.

However, especially if children are involved, this general rule gets a little murky. If the property owner knew that the condition on the property was a risk and knows that children may be trespassing on the property, he or she could be held responsible. In cases such as that, the plaintiff would have to prove that the children did not know about the danger or the risk involved.

These cases are rarely cut and dry, which is why you should consult with a professional when considering a claim. For more information on this topic, please visit our page on property accidents.