Serving The Injured In New York And Pennsylvania

Premises liability and the responsibility of property owners

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Personal Injury

Most days, we enter the property of others for a wide range of reasons and purposes. You might enter your child’s school when picking them up, go to a local store to purchase groceries, stop at the post office to drop off a package or visit with a friend at their home.

While this can feel like a safe or simple routine of errands or visits, the reality is that our safety is in the hands of the property owner each time we enter their property. Thus, if a property owner has failed to maintain their property or failed to prevent or correct dangerous or hazardous conditions on their property, they could be held liable for the harms and damages suffered in an accident caused by these conditions.

Responsibility of property owners

The responsibility owed by a property owner is dependent on the legal status of the person on the property. For example, if an individual is an invitee, this mean they are entering the property for the purpose of doing business with the property owner. Patrons at a restaurant or customers at a store are invitees. Property owners owe the highest duty of care and must correct or warn invitees of any known dangers or those they should reasonably know of.

Another legal status is a licensee. These are invited guests that enter for their own purposes, such as going to the home of a neighbor or friend. Intermediate duty of care is owed, and they must correct or warn about the dangers they are aware of.

A person may hold the status of a trespasser, which is a person that enters the property without permission. Property owners still owe a duty of care; however, it is much lower. For example, they cannot purposefully set up traps or create dangerous conditions. Additionally, they may be obligated to warn about certain known dangerous conditions.

Children are a different story because they are unlikely to have the same cognitive abilities as an adult. Thus, if there is an attractive nuisance, the property owner must do something to reduce the danger, even if it is to protect trespassing children.

Premises liability actions

If you suffered harm due to a dangerous condition on the property of another, it is possible to file a premises liability action. Certain elements must be met to prove liability and recover compensation.

First, you must prove that the property owner either owned or occupied the property in question. Next, you must prove that the property owner was negligent in maintaining the property and keeping it free of dangerous conditions. Finally, you must prove that you suffered an injury and losses because of their negligence. If you are unsure if this is an option, a legal professional can help answer any questions you might have.