Property owners could have various obligations to people entering their premises. Whether it is a customer or friend, these people could fall under specific categories, affecting their legal status within the property. Understanding these categories could help the owner determine whether they committed negligence, bringing about a premise liability claim.
These classifications could vary from state to state. However, the primary groups to identify legal status include the following:
- Invitees include people entering the property who buy or do business, benefitting the owner economically. Customers usually fall under this classification, receiving priority duty of care.
- Licensees: Owners usually invite these parties to enter the property. Doing so typically benefits the licensee, whether for leisure or business. Friends invited to the property typically fall under this category. They receive a duty of care from the owner, but not as high as invitees.
- Trespassers: These people enter the property without permission. Despite heading into the premises without consent, property owners still owe them a minimal duty of care. Their duties might include posting warnings within the property about potentially unsafe conditions.
- Children are in a separate category because they lack the understanding and cognitive skills adults possess. Property owners should beware of them, especially if these children can easily access the premises. Owners might need to minimize danger factors on the property by installing fences.
Owners or employers could also have a duty of care for employees. However, the legal procedures might vary based on the circumstances.
Gauging liability based on fault
Aside from legal status, comparative negligence rules could come into play based on the claim’s details. Sometimes, the owner might only be partially liable. The guidelines could change per state, potentially affecting the claim’s validity.
It is best to seek reliable legal counsel when facing premise liability claims. Doing so could help determine the most appropriate action and address any issues.