What is within premises liability?
A walk through your rights and duties
holds property owners liable for any injury or damage incurred within their property or premises. The law dictates the duty of the property owner in maintaining the order of his/her premises to ensure the safety of the visitors and to avoid incidents or injury from happening. However, it must be put in mind that not because a person was injured in someone else’s property, the owner is automatically liable. Important elements should be considered before the judge can rule that the property owner is liable. Premises liability cases could get complicated at times. Thus, the Law Office of Andrew B. Greenspan, LCC is here to guide you with the basic principles of premises liability.
The basic elements that govern premises liability
It doesn’t mean that if someone got injured within your property you are already liable. There are these elements sought by the court to prove the accountability of a party. An important element to be considered first in a premises liability lawsuit is negligence
. In law, negligence means the failure in fulfilling one’s duty in taking reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person.
Let’s say, for example, you own a restaurant. You know that some of your chairs are not anymore good for service but you purposely overlooked the situation and still decided to use them. Unfortunately, one of your customers suffered an injury after the chair that he/she used broke down. In that case, you, as the owner, will be held accountable for failing to fulfill your duty making sure that the space you own is safe for the visitors, which in the example, is your customer. Also, it is the owner’s responsibility to reasonably inspect, discover, and correct unknown danger there might be in his/her property.
The visitor’s status
The owner’s duties could also be limited depending on the status of the visitor
. In some states, the strength of the lawsuit lies upon the appropriateness of the visitor’s status visiting the premises. Commonly, there are three categories of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
- The invitee is someone whom the owner has invited to come to his/her property. With the invitation, it is implied that the owner has taken reasonable measures in ensuring the safety of the visitor. An example of an invitee is a customer entering a store.
- On the other hand, the licensee enters the premise for his/her purpose but also with the implied consent of the owner. In some states, the invitee and licensee hold the owner accountable with the same high degree of duty. However, for other states, the owner owes the invitee a higher degree of duty of care.
- The last one is the trespasser. Anyone who enters the premises, area, or property without the permission of the owner is considered as a trespasser and thereby, traditionally, has no right to sue the owner of the property for any damage or injury incurred within the property.
However, when it comes to the trespassers there is an exemption. While it is true that the owner owes no liability for the injury that the trespasser incurred within his premises, it is not the same with a “child trespasser”
. The law places the owner the “special responsibility” of duly taking reasonable precautions in making the premises safe for children. This stems out from “attractive nuisance”
which refers to the things within your property which would likely draw children’s attention and pose harm to them.
Typical attractive nuisance includes swimming pools, trampolines, treehouses, wells, and dangerous animals within your property. The court expects you to ensure the safety of the children within your property by taking basic actions in preventing injuries such as putting warning signs or building a fence around the pool.
If you are injured because of someone’s negligence, you should immediately contact a premises liability lawyer to evaluate the situation and to see if a claim would be feasible.
Premises liability lawsuit could become complex for each case is unique given the nature of the circumstances. That is why in the Law Office of Andrew B. Greenspan, LCC, unique approaches are offered depending on the needs of the client. It is indeed important that you should know the rights and duties identified to you by the law as the owner or a visitor. So if you have concerns about your rights and duties when it comes to premises liability, don’t hesitate to reach the Law Office of Andrew B. Greenspan, LCC.
We will be listening.