If you own property, you are legally responsible to keep that property safe. Even if you believe that no one will ever be on or around any portion of your property, it is still your duty to take reasonable measures to ensure safety in the event someone does happen across your property. However, if someone does become injured while on your property, different rules apply, depending on the state you live in and the category in which the injured person falls into. This article will explain the three categories and what the law entails for each.
An invitee is someone who was invited onto your property. Whether it was someone invited for a business transaction, or someone who was invited for a personal reason, it is your duty of care to make sure that anyone who comes onto your property with your express permission is safe from any present danger. If you are aware that there is a defect on your property that poses a danger to someone, you have a duty to repair that defect, or to at least warn others of the potential danger.
A licensee is someone you allow on your property for their own purpose, usually someone who needs access to something on your property that belongs to them or to the company they work for. An example of a licensee is a utility worker who needs to fix a utility line that runs across your property. It is your duty as the property owner to ensure that the property is free of any dangerous conditions, but the level of care that you owe to a licensee is less than the level of care you owe to an invitee. You are only obligated to remove known dangers from the property, you are not obligated to inspect for dangers you may not be otherwise aware of.
A trespasser is someone who has no permission at all to be on your property. If you have any belief that there are frequent trespassers on your property, you may be held liable if one of the trespassers was injured while on your property. This would happen if the unsafe condition was believed to be known by you, that the injury was very serious, if you thought that the danger was not something a trespasser would discover, or if you failed to warn trespassers about the condition and its risk.
A slightly different rule applies to trespassing children, because as a whole, the law is centered around the fact that most children are not aware of any dangers that can exist on a property, and that they may be on your property because they were wandering, not because they willfully entered onto your property.
If you find that someone on your property has been injured and has filed a claim, you need to talk with a lawyer experienced in personal injury law, such as Donald L Scales, for assistance.Share