Premises Liability: Slip and Fall

January 24, 2015 2:46 pm

Slip and Fall

Have you had a slip and fall and been injured at someone else’s home or business? Your ability to recover for the injuries you sustained due to a slip and fall accident may be dependent upon the reason you were there.

If you have experienced a slip and fall on someone’s property, the first question an attorney will ask you is, “Why were you there?”

The reason we need to know the purpose of your visit is because the legal relationship changes depending upon why you were on the property. Premises liability law provides three terms describing the different legal statuses for a person on someone else’s property: Invitee, Licensee, and Trespasser.

An “Invitee” is someone on a premises who gives the possessor an economic benefit by being there. Essentially, this involves a business relationship. A possessor of land owes an Invitee the highest degree of care. A possessor of land must keep the premises safe for an Invitee’s use. This generally means that a possessor of land has a duty to perform the following:

  • Inspect
  • Maintain
  • Warn

These three things are required from all possessors of land who receive Invitees as their guests.

If you were on the premises for a social visit with permission, you will likely be considered a “Licensee”. A possessor of land’s duty to a Licensee is less than to an Invitee. A possessor of land is liable for harm caused to a Licensee injured on property if all of the following exist:

  • The possessor of land knew or should have known of the dangerous condition.
  • The possessor should have expected that the Licensee would not discover the condition.
  • The possessor failed to use reasonable care to fix the condition or to warn the Licensee.
  • The Licensee did not know about the condition and the risk it posed.

If you were on someone’s property without express or implied permission, then you were a “Trespasser” and were owed the lowest duty of care. Generally, a landowner is not responsible to a Trespasser unless the landowner commits a willful or wanton act that results in injury to the Trespasser.

Watch as Elizabeth Hohauser further explains premises liability.

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