What is Premises Liability and Why Should You Care?

Property owners often have a legal responsibility for people who are on their property. They could potentially be held liable for any injuries or mishaps which occur to people whilst on that property. This is known as premises liability.

What is a Premises Liability?

Premises liability covers people being injured on a property. If this injury is caused by the conduct (or misconduct) of the owner, they are always liable. Conduct refers to how the property is managed and maintained. Basically, any potential hazards should have clear warning signs and other safety features in place. For example, if a dangerous area can be readily accessed by the public and somebody is injured in there, this is owner misconduct and the owner is liable.

The line between what does or doesn’t construe misconduct can be a little vague and open to interpretation. When deciding on a case, the court would take a number of factors into account, including the reason the person was there. If misconduct on the owner’s side is clear or easy to prove, then they can be held liable regardless of who the person is.

However, there are cases where it matters who the person is and why they are on the property. It’s difficult to figure exactly what duty of care extends to each circumstance but an attorney can help you work out the specifics of this law within your jurisdiction. Injury attorney Ken Wilhelm is one I’ve had contact with before though there are other options too.

Invitee’s

There are times when a person may be hurt on your property and you aren’t liable. We’ve already covered misconduct but you can be held liable for injuries caused to people on your property even if you are cleared of misconduct. This usually happens when you have invited somebody into the property. The reason why that happens doesn’t matter – it can be for personal or professional reasons, either way, the owner has a duty to warn you of any hazards and keep you as safe as reasonably possible.

Protection for an ‘invitee’ extends to anybody who accompanies them, including children. Always be aware that children can pose an extra hazard as they are less aware of the danger and more likely to wander.

Uninvited Licensee

Beyond this category, there is the ‘uninvited licensee’, which is a person who has access to the property with the knowledge and permission of the owner. The owner has a duty to disclose any dangers to this person as well and also to maintain the property to a minimum standard.

Trespassers

In the event of an uninvited visitor, or in other words a trespasser, there is less responsibility on the property owner. In fact, the only responsibility generally considered is that to avoid causing wanton harm to the trespasser.

One note – this situation is for undiscovered trespassers. If you happen to discover a trespasser in your property, you must immediately warn them of any hazards or dangers and the same level of care is expected as for an ‘uninvited licensee’.

Speak Your Mind

*