Owners and operators of property possess an obligation to keep visitors and the general public safe from unreasonable risks and dangers. The individual or company that fails to keep their property safe will be held responsible when an innocent person is harmed from a dangerous condition on the property.
Premises liability claims cover a wide range of cases and can include, but are not limited to the following:
An injured person’s ability to recover is generally determined by the type of visitor they are classified as. There are three major categories of visitors in these types of cases:
BUSINESS VISITOR (INVITEE)
Business visitors, also known as business invitees, are people who visit a place to do business with the property owner or occupier. This includes customers at any store, gas station, mall, hotel, or place of business. Business visitors make up the most common type of property liability cases. Since those owning or occupying property for business purposes are inviting individuals to their property in exchange for their customers’ business, the property owner or occupier must provide their guests with the highest standard of care. Owners and occupiers of business property must not only maintain their property in a reasonably safe fashion, but must also conduct inspections to ensure their customers’ safety and warn customers of any potential unknown dangers. If property owners or occupiers fail to provide this standard, business visitors who are injured should be reimbursed by the property owner or occupier’s insurance for their injuries.
SOCIAL VISITOR (LICENSEE)
Social visitors, or licensees, are exactly what they sound like. They are visitors on a piece of property for social purposes. Property owners who invite guests onto their property for social purposes are still responsible to keep their promises free from unreasonably unsafe conditions of which a guest would normally not be aware. Even if the property owner is a friend or loved one, the friend or loved one will most likely not be the one directly paying for your medical bills and other expenses; in most cases, the property owner’s insurance will be reimbursing you for your injuries and expenses. If you’ve suffered an injury while visiting property as a social guest, you should still seek advice regarding reimbursement for your injuries.
UNINVITED VISITOR (TRESSPASSER)
Uninvited visitors, or trespassers, are entitled to the lowest standard of care. However, property owners must still guard against unreasonably unsafe conditions that may attract accidents on the property. This usually comes into play when children are injured on property because of attractive hazards such as swimming pools, trampolines, play structures, or other structures that are often unmonitored.
If you are injured on the property of another and are unsure of who is at fault, please contact an attorney to discuss your individual situation.