In previous blogs, we have discussed what to do if someone is injured in your property and also who can be held liable for personal injuries on properties. We will now look at the other perspective on this issue, and address the legal possible legal statuses and definitions of people who could potentially be injured on their property.
An invitee is someone who is invited onto the property, whether that be directly invited or implied by the owner, such as a shopper at a business or a garage sale. At this point, homeowners and business owners should have taken the proper steps to ensure that their property is safe. It is expected that homeowners and business owners have taken the necessary steps to ensure invitees are safe to attend the premises.
A licensee is someone who was indirectly invited to the premises, such as a friend of a guest. Maybe you invited people for a tailgate and they brought people you were unfamiliar with, or maybe your brother wants you to meet his new significant other. The owner must give their consent for licensees to attend, as well as ensure the property is safe or inform licensees and guest of any potential hazards.
For example, in my college years, the writer of this blog post lived in a not-so-good house for cheaper rent. One of the many problems with this house was that a stair was broken. (My roommates and I tried to fix it, but we're not exactly top-notch handymen. Plus, we didn't have the best landlord). We had to warn each guest about the stair before they went down. "Watch out for the seventh stair on the way down and fourth stair on the way up."
Side note: If you are a renter with questions on whether you or the landlord are responsible for personal injuries, click here (link to August Blog on who's responsible for persona injuries blog).
A social guest is either invited or is someone who frequents the property, such as a common friend or neighbor. They have similar rights as an invitee, but vary case to case.
Some might find it hard to believe, but trespassers do have rights even when they are wrongfully on your property, but there is no reason to believe that a safe property has been established for trespassers and they still receive fewer rights than people who are invited. They are labeled as someone who enters a property with absolutely no permission. Generally speaking, property owners are not liable for injuries to a trespasser, but there are a few outlier scenarios where the owner is held liable. Warning signs and other forms of communication must be placed if you feel your property may be trespassed on, such as a "beware of dog" sign.
If you live in a child-abundant neighborhood, you probably realized that they do not quite understand the laws that govern their world yet. This scenario can be considered an attractive nuisance; anything that would entice a child to enter your property without permission. Swimming pools and animals can fall under this category. While it's never required for you to childproof your property, it might be a good idea to childproof the exterior if you live near a school or in a neighborhood with many children. It's a simple precaution that could save you if this scenario were to occur.
While trespassers are more difficult to handle, owners know when guests, licensees, and invitees will attend. Keeping a safe property or warning guests of potential hazards will not only save you from a lawsuit but it just the human thing to do. No one wants to see a loved one harmed on their property, and no one wants to file a lawsuit against a companion to cover extensive injuries.
Any blog published by Friedman Law Offices is not meant to be a substitute or replacement for personalized legal advice. Please consult with a lawyer before making any decision that may impact your legal rights.