Premises liability protects individuals who visit a property from getting hurt. Property owners are expected to take a certain level of care to ensure that visitors come and go freely, without injury.

Premises liability law exists to protect individuals who get hurt and discourage property owners from being negligent in the care of their property. 

Today’s blog is all about premises liability. We’re covering everything you need to know about this process, including answering the question, “what are premises?” and explaining the different types of people who might enter a premise. 

If you want to understand the settlement process, we’ve also covered that. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

What Are Premises? 

So, you might wonder, what are premises? To get started, let’s define what premises are. The premises are where you visit, whether that be land or a building. 

The owner, or whoever the owner puts in charge of those premises, is responsible for ensuring that the premises are kept safe. While premises could be a person’s home if they run a business out of their home, it is typically a commercial or professional building.

To establish premises liability, you must prove who owned the property where you were injured. You must also prove that they were negligent in caring for their property and that that negligence caused your injury.

Invitees vs. Licensees vs. Trespassers

There are stipulations in the law regarding who can lawfully be on the premises. An individual who gets hurt while unlawfully occupying the premises is not entitled to premises liability laws and cannot seek compensation, even if they get injured.

There are three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.

Invitees are individuals who have been directly or indirectly invited onto the premises. If you’re called in for an interview at a pest control store, you’ve been directly invited onto that premises. If you’re shopping at the mall, you’ve been invited to enter the premises indirectly. Whether the invitation is direct or indirect, you have the right to stay safe.

Licensees are similar to invitees. Only, instead of coming to shop, you’re likely a professional invited to offer your goods or services to the invitees on the premises. A common example of this would be a job fair with multiple vendors visiting a college campus. The vendors would be considered licensees, and the students would be the invitees.

Trespassers don’t get the same protection as invitees or licensees. They are, after all, trespassing on the premises. 

However, warning signs must alert trespassers that they aren’t welcome on the premises. If they are injured after disregarding that notice, they have no legal right to file a lawsuit. But if they are injured because there is no warning sign, there is potential for a lawsuit.

Premises vs. Personal Liability

Premises liability involves proving that you were injured due to negligent care of the property. An excellent example is failing to put out a caution sign for a wet floor. Falling after walking on a slippery floor with no warning could result in injury, and you’d be entitled to file a lawsuit over it.

Personal liability is different. You aren’t required to prove that the premises were unreasonably dangerous. Personal liability generally means providing the same level of care for others that you would expect for yourself. Many businesses have personal liability insurance to protect themselves in such circumstances. 

Common Examples of Premises Liability

Sometimes examples can clarify concepts, so let’s look at some. Premises liability law applies to various circumstances, including:

  • Animal and dog bites. This could happen in a professional or personal setting. For example, a salesperson knocking on a door could get attacked by a dog. If there is a posted warning sign, the owner is covered. But if not, the salesman could pursue a lawsuit.
    A dog at an animal shelter biting an employee or invitee is another example, although employees would have signed waivers absolving the shelter of any responsibility
  • Slip and fall accidents. A visibly-posted “Caution – Wet Floor” sign will cover you. We recommend having one at every entrance point surrounding the wet floor, so there’s no question of whether it was visibly posted.
  • Dangerous property. A property covered in ice and snow from winter weather conditions could be considered dangerous property. So could broken glass that’s left on the floor.
  • Negligent or inadequate security. Business owners are responsible for ensuring there’s adequate security. A mall is a great example of a premise that needs security. Failing to have that security could result in a premises liability lawsuit if there’s an incident where someone gets hurt.
  • Swimming pool injury. Written-out rules for the pool should be prominently displayed, along with signs stating how deep the water is and whether diving is allowed.
  • Inadequate maintenance. A property overgrown with weeds that haven’t been maintained for months can be a hazard. Not only that but cities often fine property owners who neglect their property.
  • Children on property. If a property isn’t safe for children, there needs to be a sign warning them to stay away.
    For example, there could be a high-end museum with fragile pieces you don’t want broken. Or, there’s a nursing home where children should stay away from individual rooms where residents are resting or receiving care.
  • Retail store liability. Retail stores could be held liable if there’s clothing all over the dressing room floors that cause an invitee to slip and fall. The same goes for a broken display with shards on the floor or a construction zone with power tools and ladders where children could get hurt.
  • Restaurant liability. Restaurants must quickly and thoroughly clean up spills and ensure that floors, chairs, and tables are kept safe for invitees and licensees. 

As you can see, there are endless examples of premises liability. Premises liability law protects you from getting hurt due to someone else’s negligence. 

Call Flickinger Boulton Gooch & Robson Today

You could be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering under premises liability law if you were injured. Contact Flickinger Boulton Gooch & Robson for your free case consultation. Call us at 801.500.4000 or visit our website to get started. Let us fight for you!