When people file personal injury or premises liability actions, it is seldom due to an activity that occurred on their own property. Most accidents and injuries occur away from our homes, on our way to and from work and activities, at work itself, or during the course of an activity.
While there are protections in place that can shield public entities and businesses from liability in certain circumstances, generally speaking, property owners have a responsibility for what happens on their property. If you were injured on another person’s property or in a public area, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Premises Liability Generally
There are two broad categorizations when it comes to a landowner and guest relationship: a visitor is either considered an invitee or a licensee.
A licensee is what we would consider a “social guest;” that is, someone you have over to your home for a non-business related purpose. Licensees have less legal protections than their invitee counterparts; that is, if you are injured when you are categorized as a licensee, you probably have fewer legal rights than you would otherwise.
An invitee, however, is owed a higher duty of care from the landowners (or managers) as they are generally in a business relationship with one-another. That is, the landowner has a greater responsibility over their guests than they would in a licensee relationship. Examples of invitees include patrons visiting a restaurant or store, or a repair person coming to your home.
Depending on the nature of the relationship, a landowner has certain responsibilities to his or her guests. In a licensee relationship, the landlord has a duty to inform visitors of any known dangerous conditions that may cause them harm on the property. This could include knowing that your bathroom sink emits unusually hot water or that there is a missing step to the second floor.
In the case of an invitee relationship, the landowner has a duty not only to inform guests of dangerous conditions, but also to proactively investigate for dangerous conditions throughout the day (consider: a shopkeeper must periodically check for spills or conditions that could cause harm to the store’s patrons). The standard for landowners that hold themselves out for public use, then, is higher than those simply entertaining social guests.
Public places hold another layer of responsibility. Cities, municipalities, and states have obligations to maintain public lands in a safe manner. They also have a responsibility to design their roadways and public areas such that safety is a forefront consideration. When a public jurisdiction fails to meet this standard of care, just like in licensee and invitee relationships, the governmental entity may be held liable for injuries that occur on its property.
Call Us For Help If You Have Been Injured
Clearly, there are many ways to hold third parties accountable for accidents or injuries that occur on their property. Hiring knowledgeable personal injury attorneys that understand the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved in your case can greatly improve your chances at a monetary recovery.
At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, we understand how complicated and time-consuming the legal process can be. We will ensure that you understand what is going on in your case every step of the way and we will fight for the best possible outcome. Contact us at our convenient San Diego law office to learn more about your rights as a visitor on someone else’s property today.