If Someone Trespasses on My Property and Gets Hurt, Am I Liable?

When it comes to trespassers on your property in Colorado, understanding the nuances of liability is crucial. While property owners are typically not responsible for the safety of trespassers, there are exceptions to this general rule. Contrary to common belief, certain circumstances can hold property owners legally and financially liable for any injuries sustained by trespassers. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of trespasser liability in Colorado and shed light on when such liability can be imposed.

In Colorado, a trespasser is an individual who enters your property without permission or legal authority. It is essential to establish that the person lacked authorization to be on the premises to classify them as a trespasser. Whether it is an intentional act or a result of negligence, trespassers are generally not afforded the same level of protection as invitees or licensees.

If you sustained injuries in an accident in Colorado, contact the personal injury lawyers at Front Range Injury Attorneys today to schedule your free consultation. Our experienced legal team are knowledgeable and zealous advocates for our clients and their cases. We treat our clients as people, not case files. Learn more about how we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact our Denver law firm to learn more.

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Understanding Trespassing

Trespassing refers to the act of entering or remaining on another person’s property without permission. It is essential to differentiate between two main types of trespassers: uninvited licensees and trespassers with malicious intent. Each category carries different legal implications, which we will explore further.

Uninvited Licensees

Uninvited licensees are individuals who enter your property without permission but with a lawful purpose, such as door-to-door salespeople or solicitors. In most cases, property owners owe a duty of care to these individuals. This means that if an uninvited licensee is injured on your property due to your negligence or failure to maintain safe conditions, you may be held liable for their injuries.

Trespassing Minors

Colorado law treats minors who trespass onto your property different from trespassers over the age of majority (18). You have an obligation to keep children free from harm while on your property, even if they do not have your permission to be there. Minors who trespass are treated like a licensee. You must repair known hazards or defects or post warning signs to reasonably protect the trespasser from injury.

Attractive Nuisance

Under Colorado law, an attractive nuisance on your property may cause injury to a child and result in liability for a child’s injury caused by the nuisance. An attractive nuisance is a hazardous object or location that is attractive to children. These may include:

  • Hot tub
  • Treehouse
  • Well
  • Trampoline
  • Barnyard animals
  • Lake or pond
  • Swimming pool
  • Inoperable vehicles

You have a duty to keep children away from the dangerous object or condition, such as using gates or fences. Even if you maintain the property condition or items safely, you have a duty to take reasonable steps to keep children–especially young children–away from these hazards.

Trespassers with Malicious Intent

Trespassers with malicious intent, also known as trespassers by invitation, enter your property with harmful intentions, such as vandalism or theft. While you are not obligated to ensure their safety, there are legal boundaries to consider. In certain situations, if a trespasser with malicious intent is injured on your property due to your intentional or reckless conduct, you may still be held liable for their injuries.

Legal Obligations and Potential Liability Under Colorado Law

As a property owner, it is crucial to understand your legal obligations and potential liability when dealing with trespassers. While specific premises liability laws vary by jurisdiction, we will outline principles under Colorado premises liability law to provide you with a broader understanding.

Duty of Care

Property owners generally owe a duty of care to individuals who have a lawful reason to be on their property, including uninvited licensees. This duty typically requires taking reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm. Examples of fulfilling this duty include maintaining safe conditions, properly securing hazardous areas, and addressing known risks promptly.


Foreseeability is a crucial factor in determining liability. If you were aware or should have been aware of a potential danger on your property, such as a hazardous condition, it may be deemed foreseeable. Taking appropriate measures to address such hazards can help mitigate liability in case of an accident.

Warning Signs and Liability Limitations

To further protect your legal rights, posting visible warning signs can serve as a deterrent and provide evidence of your intent to discourage trespassing. However, please note that warning signs alone do not absolve you of all liability. If you are aware of an immediate danger, it is your responsibility to take necessary action to prevent harm.

Can You Intentionally Injure a Trespasser?

In Colorado, you may not intentionally injure a trespasser either by attacking a trespasser (aside from defensive acts) or setting traps to injure trespassers. You can be held liable for a trespasser’s injuries if you cause injury by willful, wanton, reckless, or intentional conduct. You cannot chase down and attack somebody for crossing your yard. You also cannot set up traps or hidden weapons to injure trespassers or future trespassers. You can be held liable for their injuries in these situations, even if they are unwelcome or uninvited. If you act in genuine self-defense or defense of others, you can argue that motive justified causing injury to a hostile trespasser.

Dangerous Dogs and Trespassers

All dog owners have a duty of reasonable care to avoid their pets attacking underage trespassers, licensees and invitees on the property. If you own a “dangerous dog” you have a higher duty of care to take reasonable precautions to avoid injury to anybody–even trespassers. A dangerous dog under Colorado law is a dog that has caused serious bodily injury to a person, domestic animal, or livestock. If you own a dog deemed dangerous by law, you must take reasonable precautions to prevent injuries to other people, including trespassers. Reasonable precautions may include beware of dog signs and fencing designed to contain the dog. If a trespasser is injured despite reasonable precautions, the trespasser may not hold you liable for injuries.


Navigating the topic of someone trespassing on your property can be complex and overwhelming. Understanding your legal obligations and potential liability is crucial to safeguarding your rights as a property owner. By taking proactive measures, such as maintaining safe conditions and seeking legal counsel, you can mitigate risks and protect yourself from potential liabilities.

If you require further guidance or assistance, our experienced legal team at Front Range Injury Attorneys is ready to support you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and ensure you have the necessary legal expertise by your side.

Colorado Slip and Fall Attorneys

If you sustained injuries on someone else’s property due to a dangerous condition, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and related financial losses. The Colorado slip and fall lawyers at Front Range Injury Attorneys help clients pursue full and fair compensation for these claims across the state. We help clients with slip and fall or premises liability claims in Colorado including:

Contact our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your case. You can speak with our attorneys at no cost and no obligation about your legal rights.

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