The Duty Of Care Rules For Private Property Owners

Go to any grocery store or any other public business and you will see a mat in front of, or directly inside of, the business. These mats are in place because the law holds an incredibly high standard when it comes to holding businesses to their duty of care to consumers, customers, and everyday pedestrians. And of course, it’s impossible to remove 100% of hazards and dangers from a business 100% of the time, so the law allows warnings in the form of high-visibility placards and other signs to accomplish what business representatives are unable to by warning people in advance to avoid injury by possible hazards that may or may not be present.

The standard that businesses are held to is a dance that must be performed everyday in order to reduce both realistic injury as well as liability on the behalf of the business should someone happen to get injured regardless of the attempts to express duty of care. The obligations themselves are also the same no matter who pursues the business. The same cannot be said however, for owners or private properties and residences. Private property owners, like homeowners or owners of an estate property get a different set of rules to follow and their obligations are different relative to the type of person who enters the property. As a premises liability lawyer explains:

Invitees: Imagine that you host a small get-together or party for whatever occasion you wish. All those who have been “formally” invited either directly or indirectly (say a relative of the expressly invited) fall under the category of “invitees.” The duty of care you give them is of the highest standard and is not unlike what businesses are held to.

Trespassers: Imagine the same party where you are enjoying time with invitees and a person who you did not invite or even know of altogether comes onto your property uninvited and unwelcome. Trespassers receive the lowest standard of care duties, as the homeowner has no obligation to protect their safety. The homeowner must, however, refrain from “willful intent to injure” and must provide warning for all non-obvious hazards on the property by putting up a sign.

Licensees: Like invitees, licensees need to be warned of the dangerous conditions of the property. But once they are warned, the homeowner is free from liability. Also the homeowner doesn’t need to warn them about obvious and open hazards. People who fall into this category are individuals like maids, servants, and other employee-like individuals who are licensed to work on the private property.

If you have had issues on your private property, contact a premises liability lawyer at the Eric Roy Law Firm today.