No Trespassing signs - They are seen on everything from fence posts, gate entrances, to houses and buildings. But do “No Trespassing” signs protect a property owner from responsibility or liability if a trespasser enters the property?
Premises liability laws are a set of laws in Missouri that govern cases where a person is injured on someone else’s property. They indicate that a property owner is required to exercise reasonable care to keep their property maintained and safe for everyone who visits.
Property owners will mark hazards and dangerous conditions in a way to exercise that reasonable care. Signage can indicate that wanted to alert others to take proper caution. Of course the property owner does it in part because they do care about the safety of people who come onto or into their home or business but in part, they are also concerned that they could be sued. Property owners understand that if their negligence or disregard results in an accident, then they could be responsible for the injuries and damages sustained by someone hurt on their property.
Two examples of alerts are the “wet floor” sign in a supermarket aisle where there is a wet spot or an orange cone alerting someone to a hole in a sidewalk. But in the case of trespassers, the rules or slightly different.
Is Trespassing A Crime?
Trespassing is the act of accessing another person’s property without permission. It is, and generally a misdemeanor, even unintentionally, with or without malicious intent. It is a criminal offense.
A landowner does not have a presumed duty to keep property safe for trespassers as they would for known visitors or expected invitees. They are only required to not cause harm to anyone who trespasses through “willful or wanton misconduct,” or to have reckless indifference to the potential for injury to a trespasser. We mean that they may not place a hidden danger with the intent to harm someone trespassing.
Signs, Fencing, and Purple Paint
Often property owners post signage declaring “No Trespassing” on their property. They may have fencing. Both signage and fencing are sufficient to put others on notice that the property is private, and trespassing is not allowed. They are also allowed to tell a person verbally to leave and not return.
Missouri property owners are also allowed to use purple paint in obvious places the same as they would with a “No Trespassing” sign. The paint must be at least 8 inches long with the bottom between three and five feet off the ground, no more than100 feet apart, and readily visible to anyone.
Are You Liable For A Trespasser’s Injuries?
It’s possible that someone could file a claim for injuries that occurred while they were trespassing on your property. Much depends on whether you knew that someone was trespassing, or if you engaged in the willful or wanton misconduct that intentionally harmed someone.
If you are unaware of anyone trespassing, called “undiscovered” trespassers, you are only required to avoid willful and wanton actions. But if you are aware of someone trespassing on your property, they are considered “discovered.” The landowner is responsible for warning them of any dangers on the property, even with “No Trespassing” signage.
A trespasser seeking damages must prove that:
· A danger or hazard exists on the premises
· The property owner knew of this hazard
· The property owner knew of the trespasser, and also that the trespasser was not owed the same duty of care as others
· The trespasser suffered injuries as a result of the dangerous condition
These four points are required to establish liability.
The Attractive Nuisance
Anything that attracts the attention of children is also an exception. Swimming pools, for example, are popular with children, and they may decide to take a dip in yours while no one is looking. Because they’re children, they’re not aware of the inherent dangers of taking a dip without adults present.
Property owners can beheld responsible for any injuries that result from this attractive nuisance, because they knew or should have known that children would be interested in the pool. It’s vital that an owner with a pool, swing set, trampoline, or other potentially dangerous feature take extra precautions to prevent a child from harm.
Premises Liability Cases In Kansas City- See Popham Law
Injuries on someone else’s property can lead to serious injuries. A Missouri premises liability case is complicated however and the laws that govern premises liability look at various aspects of a situation. For example: who is responsible, was there negligence, was the injured party a trespasser, and did the injured person share any responsibility for their own injury, are all questions that must be sorted through. An experienced Kansas City premises liability attorney is an expert on these laws and how they apply. If you have been injured while visiting a home, a store, a post office, or other type of property and you believe if not for some lack of maintenance or care by the property owner, you would not have been hurt.
If you’ve been hurt on another’s property as a result of negligence, contact The Popham Law Firm. Call us at (816) 221-2288 today or use our contact form. We’ll talk with you about your options and the compensation you may be entitled to such as for medical bills, rehabilitative care, permanent disability, or other related damages.