The Basics of Premise Liability Law
- November 13, 2014
- Personal Injury
When it comes to personal injury law, every case is different and there will be a range of different legal theories and codes that a Dallas personal injury lawyer will need to apply. It all depends on the claim that the plaintiff is making and the circumstances under which the damage occurred. A concept that personal injury lawyers will commonly need to navigate is that of premises liability.
What is Premise Liability Law
The basic concept behind premises liability law is that a person should be able to expect a reasonable standard of safety when they enter property that an individual or entity is responsible for. This may sound rather straightforward, but there is a lot of nuance that can determine who is responsible for the damage and to what level the property owner has a duty of care.
Status of the Individual
A key factor in a case that involves premises liability is the status of the individual at the time the injury occurred. In other words, the obligations of the property owner or tenant are largely dependent upon the reason for which the claimant was on the property. In regard to premises liability, there are three basic categories of status that the injured person can be assigned. They are invitees, licensees and trespassers.
Category of the Invitee
The category of invitee is probably the most common in premises liability cases and as you may have guessed, this is a person that enters the property with the consent of the property owner or tenant. Typically, this refers to a customer of a business or a person that is using some type of public facility. This category of visitor, in a legal sense, is entitled to expect a reasonable standard of safety in regard to the reasons for which the property is open. For this type of visitor, they can legally expect the highest standard of care. The property owner or responsible party doesn’t even need to know that a dangerous condition existed; all that has to be demonstrated is that a reasonable individual would have been aware of such a condition as the one that caused the injury.
A licensee is a person that is on the property for non-commercial reasons either through expressed or implied consent of the party that is responsible for the property. This could include a social guest or possibly the meter reader from your gas company. The owner’s duty of care in this case is to guard visitors against injury that may result from acts of negligence or willful or wanton disregard. This means that the responsible party must take reasonable steps to ensure that the property is safe and to warn people of any dangers that they are aware of. However, if they are unaware of the danger, they may not be held liable.
A trespasser is a fairly straightforward category and these are the parties where the property owner has the least duty to care for their safety. With a trespasser, the property owner can only be held liable if the trespasser is injured by the willful or intentional conduct of the owner. Further, even this duty can be negated depending on the actions of the trespasser.
Get Help with your Premise Liability Case
Along with the status of the injured party, there are a lot of different factors that can determine whether you have a legitimate premises liability case. Just because you were injured on someone’s property that doesn’t mean that you are entitled to compensation. Consult with a lawyer and they will help to determine whether you have a case for premises liability.