Premises liability seems very simple, at least on the surface. Property owners that keep their buildings in a safe and orderly state of repair, thus ensuring that patrons or guests frequent it without incident, don't have to worry about it. But those property owners or managers that fail to maintain the safety of their real estate risk running afoul of the law and, thus, subjecting themselves to premises liability.
Each state tackles the subject of premises liability a bit differently. In states where the victim of a premises liability incident has a status, the statuses break down like this:
- Invitee: this is someone who was invited on to the premises and is protected under the law
- Licensee: someone who is on the premise for their purpose and is protected under the law
- Social guest: someone who is a welcome guest on the premises and is protected by the law
- Trespasser: this status means the individual was not allowed or welcome, and thus is not protected by the law
But this isn't the only intricacy of premises liability law. There are also the ideas of "reasonableness" and "carelessness." These both boil down to a similar theme: was the victim careless when he or she was hurt (i.e. were they doing anything dangerous) and is the claim in question a reasonable one (i.e. could the property owner have done something to prevent the accident)?
If the claim is reasonable and the victim wasn't careless, then they will have a strong case to present.
Source: FindLaw, "Premises Liability: Who Is Responsible?," Accessed Dec. 5, 2016