Premises Liability and the Legal Status of the Visitor

According to the legal idea of premises liability, a property owner in New York must maintain a reasonably safe environment for lawful entrants. If they fail in this, such as by neglecting to clear a sidewalk of ice and snow, and an entrant is injured as a result, then the property owner will be held liable for losses connected to those injuries.

The property owner's duty of care may differ based on the legal status of the visitor. Reasonable steps must be taken to protect invitees, such as customers in a store; licensees, who enter a property at the owner's consent for their own purpose; and social guests. The fourth group, trespassers, cannot hold an owner liable for injuries they incur since there is no promise implied to them. However, owners should warn about injury when setting up artificial conditions on the property that have the ability to cause harm.

Trespassing children, though, are protected under the doctrine of "attractive nuisance." If owners have something on their property that they know would be attractive to children, like a pool, they must do what they can to prevent injury. Lastly, there are special rules for landlords; in most cases, they are free from fault due to lack of control over the property they lease, but there are exceptions to this.

Determining their legal status is just one of the first steps that victims must take when filing a premises liability claim. They must also show that they were using the property in a reasonably safe manner and that the property owner had adequate time to learn about and mitigate the hazard that led to their injuries. For this and other reasons, a plaintiff may want a lawyer to assist on their case. A lawyer could be especially beneficial when negotiating a settlement.