Premises liability is the law that makes those who own or occupy land or buildings legally responsible for injuries suffered by persons who are present on the property. Premises liability would apply, for example, where a supermarket customer is injured after slipping on a grape and falling in the produce aisle.
Information provided in this video is meant to help you understand the law surrounding premises liability. You should always contact a legal professional for specific advice about your situation. The attorneys at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis and Lightfoot, L.L.P. have over 30 years experience handling premises-liability cases. We present this video to help you better understand your situation as it pertains to premises liability.
The liability of a possessor of property for injuries sustained by a visitor to the property varies depending on the visitor’s legal classification. The classifications make up a rough sliding scale.
Lowest on the legal-classification scale is the trespasser. A trespasser is a person who enters or remains on the possessor’s property without the possessor’s consent. A possessor of property owes a trespasser merely a duty to refrain from harming the trespasser by intentional or reckless conduct or by entrapment.
At the top of the legal-classification scale is the so-called invitee. An invitee is a visitor who is invited by the possessor to enter or remain upon the property for a particular purpose, usually involving some economic benefit to the possessor. The most common type of invitee is a business customer. A possessor of property owes to invitees a duty to use reasonable care to keep the premises reasonably safe and to avoid injuring invitees.
In the middle of the legal-classification scale are so-called licensees. A licensee is a person permitted by the possessor’s consent or acquiescence to visit the property for the visitor’s own convenience or benefit. Perhaps the most common example of a licensee is a social guest. The legal duty owed by a possessor of property to a social guest varies among the different states. In Maryland and the District of Columbia, the possessor owes the same duty to a social guest as to an invitee, namely, the duty to use reasonable care to prevent injury. In Virginia, by contrast, the possessor owes to a social guest merely the same duty as is owed to a trespasser, namely, the duty to refrain from willful injury or entrapment.
If you’ve been injured while on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. The possessor of the property should be held responsible for your injury if that individual or entity failed to fulfill a legal duty of care.
The attorneys at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis and Lightfoot have over three decades of experience dealing with premises-liability claims. We know the ins and outs of the law and would be glad to provide an absolutely free consultation to discuss your options. Simply pick up the phone and call us right now. We are here to help you!
I am Marc Fiedler, attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis and Lightfoot.