West Virginia homeowners are not obligated to protect those who trespass upon their property. However, they should be aware that they cannot willfully cause injury to any who do trespass. This law can become an issue for homeowners with frequent trespassers as they may find themselves liable for injuries any people, even the uninvited ones, sustain if their properties are left in an unsafe condition.
For example, homeowners and landowners could potentially face lawsuits if they purposefully made their properties unsafe. They may also be held liable if the condition of their properties could cause serious bodily harm or death. Further, landowners can also potentially face legal consequences if they fail to warn potential trespassers that there are hazards on their properties.
When children are the ones trespassing, the rules are a bit different. For example, kids are considered to be naive and may easily be lured onto a property that has a swimming pool or abandoned machinery. These types of hazards are called “attractive nuisances.” Property owners are responsible for correcting any unsafe conditions or they could face a lawsuit as children are likely unaware of the risk.
If a person suffers an injury while on someone else’s property, the owner of that property might be liable for damages. If someone was hurt by dangerous hazards on the property, a premises liability attorney may assist him or her with filing a lawsuit against the property owner even if the injured person did not have permission to be there. Depending on the severity of the injuries and whether or not the property owner posted warnings about potential hazards, the injured party could potentially seek compensation for his or her medical bills and even for pain and suffering. A lawyer may negotiate a settlement that prevents the injured person from having to go to court.