Are You Responsible If an Intruder Is Hurt on Your Property in New Mexico?

by | Jul 6, 2023 | Injuries | 0 comments

Homeowners in New Mexico may share some of the liability for guests injured on their properties, but what if the injured person was not given permission to be on the private property in the first place? Whether it is a criminal who has broken into your home or a trespasser who has mistakenly found their way onto your property, it is important to know what your legal responsibilities are if an uninvited guest is injured on your property.

If you have questions about your liability as a property owner in New Mexico or need qualified legal representation after an accident, we can help. Attorney Paul M. Dominguez is known for his knowledge, client prioritization, and complete focus on litigating cases, including those involving premises liability.

Understanding Trespassing and Personal Injury Laws in New Mexico

Trespassing generally refers to the act of entering or remaining on someone else’s property without permission. In New Mexico, trespassing is considered a civil offense, and property owners have certain rights and protections when it comes to dealing with trespassers. While property owners are expected to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of lawful visitors, their legal obligations are different when it comes to trespassers.

The “Attractive Nuisance” Doctrine

One important legal concept that can affect a property owner’s liability for injuries to trespassers is the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. This doctrine recognizes that certain conditions or objects on a property may attract children, who, due to their young age and inability to understand potential risks, may trespass and get injured.

Attractive nuisances may include but are not limited to:

  • Abandoned structures
  • Animals
  • Construction equipment
  • Playground equipment
  • Ponds and fountains
  • Skateboard ramps
  • Swimming pools
  • Trampolines

In New Mexico, if you have an attractive nuisance on your property, you may be held liable for any injuries sustained by a child trespasser. The key factors that determine liability in such cases include whether the property owner was aware of the dangerous condition, whether the owner could foresee that children might trespass, and whether the owner took reasonable steps to prevent access to the attractive nuisance or mitigate the potential danger.

Liability for Injuries to Adult Trespassers

When it comes to injuries sustained by adult trespassers, the legal landscape becomes more complex. In New Mexico, property owners generally owe a lesser duty of care to adult trespassers compared to lawful visitors or invited guests. While you cannot intentionally cause harm to trespassers, you are not obligated to ensure their safety or warn them about potential dangers on your property.

However, there are exceptions to this general rule. If you are aware of the presence of adult trespassers on your property, you may have a duty to warn them of any known dangers or hazardous conditions that could cause serious harm. Additionally, if you act recklessly or engage in willful misconduct that directly causes harm to a trespasser, you may be held liable for their injuries.

Protecting Your Rights and Reducing Liability as a Property Owner in New Mexico

Dealing with personal injury incidents on your property can be overwhelming and legally complex. If you had an intruder suffer a personal injury on your property in New Mexico, we can help. At Dominguez Law, we work with compassion and aggression to safeguard your interests and help you make informed decisions regarding your legal obligations.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal responsibilities and rights as a property owner in New Mexico, call our office at (505) 850-5854, or you may reach out to us online via our convenient contact form. Se habla español.