Premises liability defined
If a person is injured on the property of another, a court may impose liability on the property owner or possessor under premises liability if one, the property owner or possessor owed the injured person a duty of care, and two, the property owner or possessor breached that duty of care. Now, whether or not a duty exists depends on the relationship between the owner or possessor and the injured person. Now generally, the injured person will be characterized into one of three categories, namely, as an invitee, as a licensee, or as a trespasser. The invitee is a person who’s invited upon the premises in order to conduct business with the possessor. They owe invitees the highest duty of care, and in many states, property owners or possessors must regularly inspect the premises to detect unsafe conditions and to promptly repair or warn invitees about such conditions. Now, a licensee is a person who is present for a non-commercial, non-business purpose, at the consent of the possessor, such as a social guest at someone’s residence. Now, several states hold that a possessor of premises owes the same or similar duty of care to licensees as to invitees. Now, property owners owe the lowest duty of care to trespassers. Typically, property possessors have no duty to warn trespassers of the dangers naturally occurring on the premises. However, if the possessor is aware of the trespasser, then usually a duty arises to warn the trespasser of dangerous man-made conditions on the property, like an electric fence that emits a lethal shock.