If people trespass on my property (i.e. walk through my backyard without my permission) and they get injured (i.e. trip and break an arm or a tree branch falls on their head), am I liable under Georgia law?
This is a general common law answer; Georgia may have statutes or the common law there may change this.
In order to establish negligence as a Cause of Action under the law of torts, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant:
- had a duty to the plaintiff,
- breached that duty by failing to conform to the required standard of conduct (generally the standard of a reasonable person),
- the negligent conduct was, in law, the cause of the harm to the plaintiff, and
- the plaintiff was, in fact, harmed or damaged.
For your scenario:
- Most jurisdictions have held that you do have a duty to innocent trespassers - people on your property without permission but without criminal intent. The children you describe in your comment fall into that category.
- Your duty is to do what a reasonable person would to ensure that your yard is free from unreasonable hazards. If you have an abandoned mine shaft you should fence it sort of thing.
- The damage must be a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the failure to discharge the duty
- The person must actually be harmed.
The duty of care to a trespasser is that the property owner, "would not be liable for anything but affirmative acts amounting to wilfulness."
Montega Corp. v. Grooms, 128 Ga. App. 333, 337 (Ga. Ct. App. 1973)
It depends. Not knowing about Georgia law, but you are very likely liable if you set up traps in your backyard, and likely liable if you allowed there to be a danger that would affect people like your postman, or kids picking up a ball that dropped over the fence.
And you are only ever liable if the accident is actually your fault. Something that you did wrong causing the accident.