What is Premises Liability in Personal Injury Law?
Premises liability in personal injury law refers to the legal obligation of a property owner or possessor to ensure that their property is safe for those who come onto it. This includes a duty to warn of known dangers and to repair or remove hazardous conditions that could cause injury to visitors, guests, or tenants. Property owners may be held liable for any harm when they breach this duty.
The extent of the duty of care that a property owner owes to others depends on the type of visitor on the property. There are three main categories of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Invitees are individuals on the property for the owner’s benefit, such as customers at a business. The owner owes invitees the highest duty of care, including inspecting the property for hazards and warning of any known dangers.
Licensees are individuals on the property with the owner’s permission but not for the owner’s benefit. Social guests are an example of licensees. The owner owes licensees a lesser duty of care, including a commitment to warn of any known dangers that are not obvious.
Trespassers are individuals who enter a property without permission. The owner owes trespassers the minor duty of care and generally only owes them a responsibility, not intentionally, to harm them. However, if the owner knows that a trespasser is on the property and the owner’s actions create an unreasonable risk of harm, the owner may be held liable.
To succeed in a premises liability case, an injured party must prove that the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to take reasonable steps to repair or remove the hazard. This can include failure to warn of known dangers or adequately maintain the property.
At Shipman & Wright, we have been helping clients navigate personal injury law for almost 45 years, and the city in personal injury law imposes a duty on property owners and possessors to ensure that their property is safe for those who come onto it. The extent of the burden of care owed to visitors depends on the type of visitor and the owner’s knowledge of any hazardous conditions. Property owners may be held liable for any harm when they breach this duty.