One common type of case often seen in civil liability lawsuits is commonly referred to as premises liability. Premises liability often involves someone getting hurt, but the distinguishing factor is instead of being hurt by someone, the injured party gets hurt by some place. Premises liability injuries often involve things like slip and fall incidents, being struck by falling merchandise, or even being injured from exposure to toxic substances.
The duty that the law places on each of us not to harm another person also extends to our property. That means that the law requires every owner of property to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition and free from hidden dangers. A property owner that fails to do so can be required to pay civil damages to a person hurt by some unsafe condition on their property. But that doesn’t mean anyone that is hurt can recover money in a lawsuit.
Generally, the law recognizes two categories of people that can recover and one category that cannot. People whom the law considers to be invitees and licensees can generally recover money in a lawsuit if they are hurt by an unsafe condition on the property of another. An invitee is simply a person allowed to be on the property. This applies largely to public properties, and so every trip we make to the grocery store, or the mall, or the local pool for instance, we make as an invitee. A licensee is similarly permitted to be on a given property, and can recover lawsuit damages if hurt on it, but the difference between a licensee and an invitee, who is allowed on the premises by virtue of it being a public property, a licensee pays for the right to be on a property. If you paid for a ticket to see the Pirates, or your local high school team or your favorite musician perform a concert, you are a permitted licensee.
The law recognizes a third category of people who often end up on another’s premises – the trespasser. Unlike the invitee or the licensee, the trespasser has no legal right to be on the property and, therefore, generally no right to recover damages. The law also typically forbids recovering money in a lawsuit even if you are an invitee or a licensee where the danger is open and obvious. For instance, if an outside store walkway had a clearly hooved up piece of concrete and you tripped over it because you were on your phone and got hurt, it is very unlikely you could recover money from the store for your injuries.
As with most aspects of the law, there are some exceptions, and each situation must always be analyzed by its factors. So, if you have been hurt by some unsafe condition on another’s property, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore a potential claim.