What Is Premises Liability & Who Is a Protected Party?

Personal Injury & Car Accident Attorneys Serving Fort Myers and Naples, Florida, as well as Atlanta, Georgia

Posted: February 29, 2024

 Premises LiabilityYou may have heard the term "premises liability" before but were not quite sure what it meant. Premises liability refers to the responsibility property owners have to keep their property reasonably safe for visitors. If someone gets injured on someone else's property due to unsafe conditions, the property owner may be legally responsible through a premises liability claim.

Who Qualifies as a Visitor?

When it comes to premises liability, there are three specific categories that define who qualifies as a visitor: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Understanding these categories is important since the property owner owes different levels of care to visitors depending on which category they fall into.

An invitee refers to someone who has been invited onto a property for the property owner's commercial purpose and benefit. For example, customers at a retail store would be considered invitees. The property owner owes invitees the highest duty of care to keep their premises reasonably safe.

A licensee is someone who has limited permission to be on the property, such as social guests at someone's home. Trespassers do not have permission to be on the property at all. Property owners owe lower duties of care to licensees and trespassers.

What Conditions Lead To Liability?

There are a few common dangerous conditions that can make a property unsafe and lead to premises liability if a visitor gets injured. Structural issues like broken stairs, uneven floors, and lack of proper railings are major hazards. Faulty equipment, such as a wet floor without warning signs, can also cause slip-and-fall accidents. Poor lighting, debris left in walkways, concealed dangers like an unfenced swimming pool, and even things like excessively steep driveways can all make a property unreasonably unsafe. If the property owner fails to address these hazards or provide adequate warnings about them, they could be legally responsible if an injury occurs.

Comparative Negligence Can Reduce Liability

If a visitor displays negligence by ignoring hazards they were aware of, it can actually reduce the property owner's liability through comparative negligence rules. For example, if a "wet floor" sign was clearly visible, but the visitor ran through the area anyway, their negligence could reduce the amount of damages the property owner owes. So, while property owners have a duty to make their premises reasonably safe, visitors also need to act responsibly by paying attention to potential hazards when visiting a property. Otherwise, their own negligence could limit their ability to recover damages if an accident happens.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Do not leave your claim to chance - schedule a free case evaluation from our premises liability attorney at Kelleher Law today by calling 833-546-3675. With offices in Naples, FL, Fort Myers, FL, and Roswell, GA, our legal team can protect your right to compensation.

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