Trespasser Liability Reform: S.B. 1160 (2011)


Codifies traditional common law rules with respect to the duty

Codifies traditional common law rules with respect to the duty a landowner owes to a trespasser and prevent courts from adopting the new radical standard recommended in the Restatement of Torts (third).  In Texas, landowners currently do not owe a duty of care to trespassers and are not liable for their injuries.  There are certain exceptions, but these are narrow in scope and well defined.  Specifically, S.B. 1160: (1) defines a trespasser; (2) codifies the existing rule that land possessors owe no duty of care to trespassers; (3) provides well-recognized exceptions to the general rule; (4) provides that a child who is at least 14 years of age appreciates the risk of a highly dangerous artificial condition on land; (5) makes clear that the use of justifiable force to repel an intruder, as permitted under the Penal Code, will not result in civil liability for injury to a trespasser; (6) clarifies that this new code does not affect other statutory provisions regarding the duty owed by land possessors, or otherwise create or increase the liability of any person or entity; and (7) provides that the legislation is prospective only.

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