You’ve probably heard the term premises liability thrown around quite
a bit, especially if you watch the news. The “slip and fall”
cases you hear about, where someone is injured at a shop or restaurant
and sues the property owner—that is one form of premises liability.
While it may seem like these cases are quite straightforward, there are
many details and technicalities to know.
Responsibility of the Property Owner
Premises liability cases essentially revolve around the issue of property
responsibility. Property owners are responsible for keeping their land,
shop, or building safe for visitors, and if there is any potentially dangerous
area it should be clearly designated. If a visitor is injured on the owner’s
property because of negligence, then the owner may be liable for the damages caused.
Legally speaking, there are three different types of property visitors:
Invitee: An invitee is someone who was invited or allowed on the property with
permission from the owner.
Licensee: A licensee is permitted on the property by the owner, but is there for
his or her own purposes. For example, a salesman.
3.Trespasser: If someone enters a property uninvited, and without the permission of the
owner, he or she is considered a trespasser.
Typically a property owner has the most responsibility to an invitee, since
the property owner “invited” this person onto the owner’s
property. It is expected that the property owner would
warn of any dangerous conditions or areas, or fix/repair them before the invitee’s
arrival. In a private, non-commercial setting, an example of this would
be a party at your own home, where your guests are all invitees. An example
of this in a commercial setting would be a customer at a grocery store,
The property owner is less responsible to the licensee, since the licensee
is not specifically invited onto the property, but whose presence is nevertheless
permitted. As stated above, an example of a licensee would be a salesperson.
The salesperson is not typically considered a trespasser, but is also
not someone who was specifically invited. The property owner’s duty
therefore is to warn of dangerous conditions or areas.
When dealing with a trespasser, the owner rarely knows they are on the
property and did not invite them, so they rarely have a duty to report
However, in all three cases the property owner is expected to exercise
care in regards to the safety of any visitor that he or she is aware of.
Common Types of Cases
Premises liability cases can cover any type of injury, but there are particular
cases that occur more frequently than others. As mentioned before, slip
and fall cases are very common, as are dog attacks, swimming pool mishaps
and amusement park accidents. Other issues, such as inadequate maintenance
or poor business security could also be fair cause for a case.
If you think you have a premises liability case contact Todd Miner Law
for a free consultation.