Trespass to Land: Civil Liability

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Trespass to Land: Civil Liability

A trespasser may be liable for both criminal trespass and civil trespass. The following deals with civil liability for a trespass to land. 

What Does Trespass To Land Protect?

Trespass to land protects the possessory interest in land and includes the surface of the land, the earth or other material beneath the surface, and the air space just above the surface. 

When Is Someone Liable For A Trespass To Land?

To be subject to trespass to land a person must intentionally do one of the following three things:

Requirements Of Intent, Physical Invasion, And Harm

In order for trespass to land to exist, there needs to be an intentional encroachment upon the property of another. This does not mean that the trespasser has to purposely desire to enter upon a particular person's land. Instead, "intentional" is the intended act of going on land, not belonging to the public or to the trespasser and without one of the defenses to trespass

Although some courts have adopted the view that invisible particles entering upon the land of another constitutes a trespass, typically a trespass is only actionable if there is a physical invasion by a person, object, or thing.

A trespasser to land, unlike a trespass to chattel, may be liable even without a showing of compensable damages. Thus, a trespasser to land may be liable even if there was no actual monetary damages caused to the property.

What Is The Difference Between Nuisance And Trespass To Land?

The major difference between nuisance and a trespass to land is the interest being interfered with. In nuisance, a person is interfering with a current possessor's use and enjoyment of the property. Whereas, in trepass to land, the person is interfering with the exclusive possession and physical condition of the land. 

Should I Seek An Attorney?

In most instances you may use a trespass to land action to assert legal possession against potential easement or adverse possession claims. A trespass to land action, however, may also be valuable if someone has caused injury to your property, either through actions such as failing to remove an object on the property or through toxic pollutants. Either way, seeking out an attorney will assist in providing legal relief.

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Last Modified: 11-13-2013 10:48 AM PST

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