West Des Moines Firm Explains the Duty Owed to Trespassers, Invitees and Licensees
Property owners owe a duty to people entering their premises, even those who are not invited. To succeed in a premises liability claim, you must prove that the property owner breached the legal duty owed to you. First, you must determine the level of duty, depending on the reason for your presence on the property.
The Hope Law Firm, PLC is an experienced West Des Moines premises liability law firm that helps injury victims recover in slip, trip and fall claims, among others. To prove liability, our personal injury attorneys demonstrate the relationship between our client and the owner that gave rise to the duty of care and investigate what actions the landowner took or failed to take that caused the accident.
Invitees are owed the greatest level of care. An invitee is somebody who is on the premises to conduct business, such as a customer at a store, a salesperson invited for a business meeting or a client responding to an advertisement for services. The commercial property owner is required to maintain the property in good condition and to regularly inspect the premises for dangerous conditions that could cause injuries to invitees. The business must promptly repair unsafe conditions and warn people about a problem until it can be corrected. Landowners may be liable for perilous conditions about which they knew or should have known.
Licensees are social visitors, such as friends and party guests. The relationship involves a landowner who invites the guest onto the premises, often a residence, for a noncommercial purpose. The homeowner has a duty to keep the property in good repair and to warn guests of nonobvious dangers. However, a residential property owner is held to a lesser standard than a commercial property owner.
Despite not being invited onto the property, trespassers are nonetheless owed a duty of care. Landowners have the least obligation to trespassers who have come onto the property without permission. The owner does not have to warn trespassers about natural dangers or inspect and make repairs for their sake. However, an owner who has knowledge of a trespasser must warn the person about hazardous manmade conditions.
Children are much less likely than adults to appreciate or notice dangerous situations, so the law imposes increased duties regarding child trespassers. Owners are obligated to inspect their premises for dangers, to make repairs and to warn children about potential risks. Landowners should take steps to prevent children from entering property that contains a temptation, such as a swimming pool, trampoline or swing set, and warn children of the dangers.
Protect your rights to damages in your premises liability claim
The Hope Law Firm, PLC protects the rights of invitees, licensees and trespassers who were injured on property owned by another person or a corporation. Call our law firm today at 515.255.3559 or contact us online for your free consultation. Our firm takes cases on contingency, so we do not bill you for lawyer fees unless we win.