Who is Responsible in a Premises Liability Case

Premises liability is an area of law that holds property owners liable for injuries in certain cases. Determining when the owner of a business or other property is responsible for an accident is complicated, but it is generally accepted that if you own space that is accessible to the public, you have a duty to keep it reasonably free of hazards.

An owner’s degree of liability changes depending on their relationship to the injured party. Generally, those injured on the premises will fall into one of three categories:

  • Invitees. These are people who have been specifically invited or welcomed to the property for the benefit of the owner, such as shoppers, moviegoers, or hotel guests. People on publicly accessible property, such as a park, may also be classified as invitees. This type of visitor requires the highest level of care when on the premises, and property owners should fix safety hazards as they arise.
  • Licensees. These are people who have come onto the property with the consent of the owner, but are not specifically present for the benefit of the owner. Guests at a private party or social function may be classed as licensees. Property owners are responsible for disclosing safety hazards that they know about or could be reasonably expected to know about.
  • Trespassers. A trespasser is anyone who is present on a property without the consent of the owner. Property owners are not expected to protect trespassers, but are not allowed to deliberately harm them, either.

Premises liability can become even more complex when the behavior of a visitor causes or exacerbates an injury. A person who enters a property and sustains injuries due to being intoxicated will probably not win a premises liability lawsuit. However, if an intoxicated person trips over objects on the floor that may have been obvious to others, the property owner may have a harder time dismissing the claim.

Do you have questions or concerns about premises liability, or an injury you sustained on someone’s property? Katherine is a qualified legal counselor with years of experience in personal injury law. Contact our offices by phone, email, or text message for a free consultation!