Injuries on Property
Whether you have suffered an injury on another person’s property, or are a landowner facing an injury claim from on-property activity, the law generally separates the injured person into one of three categories, dependent upon his/her permission, intent, or benefit from being on the property.
- A “Trespasser” upon another’s land generally received the least amount of protection against injury, and a Landowner owes him a duty to refrain from intentional harmful acts against a person found trespassing upon the owner’s land.
- A “Licensee” (someone appearing on another’s land for their own benefit, without express permission, but for a lawful purpose), must be afforded a reasonable care against injury by the landlord, whether or not the landlord specifically knows of the visitor’s presence of purpose. The Landlord’s duty of “reasonable care” is determined on a case-by-case basis. The classic example of a Licensee is a mail carrier delivering mail upon a landowner’s property by means of a public walkway to an affixed mailbox.
- An “Invitee” (a person who enters another’s property with the express or implied invitation to visit), must be afforded the highest level of care by the landowner. A Landowner must take reasonable steps to “make the premises safe” for the invited guest, whether they know of the invited person’s presence or not. Often storekeepers are seen as the classic owner owing Invitee protection because the storekeeper benefits from the patron’s presence on their property.
Depending upon the state where an injury occurs, statutory law may alter the above-described categories, impose different criteria, or completely abolish the descriptive distinctions, so knowledge of the injury site’s state and local laws are very important