When people are injured because of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, they may have grounds to seek a recovery for damages in a lawsuit. These types of legal actions are often known as premises liability lawsuits. They are frequently based on slip and fall accidents, although other kinds of accidents may apply when they occurred as a result of the landowner’s negligence.
What is Duty of Care?
When we refer to a landowner’s negligence, we’re really referring to their failure to maintain the duty of care they have to those who are on their property. In other words, landowners have a responsibility, or duty of care, to ensure their property is reasonably safe for visitors. The conditions of this responsibility can shift depending upon a person’s purpose for being on someone else’s land, but we’ll get into that below. For now, all you need to know is that landowners are responsible for dangerous conditions on their properties.
Dangerous conditions can include any of the following:
- Wet floors
- Loose railings
- Broken stairs
- Exposed wiring
- Snow and ice accumulation
- Bad lighting
- Aggressive animals
- Improperly secured shelving
When these conditions persist or there is a lack of warning about them, a property owner may be liable for injuries that occur as result.
Invitees, Licensees & Trespassers
Property owners don’t owe the same duty of care to everyone. There are three specific categories a person will fall into if they are on someone else’s property.
These categories include the following:
- Invitees are people who are invited onto someone else’s property. They received express or implied permission to visit, and can include guests, partygoers, customers, employees, and other such individuals.
- Licensees are typically people who are on someone’s land because they’re conducting business. These can include delivery personnel, salespersons, handymen, and even girl scouts selling cookies.
- Trespassers are people who are neither invited onto someone’s property nor have business being there. They are on someone’s land illegally.
As you might have guessed, landowners owe the most duty of care to invitees. They must maintain safe conditions at all times in any place where an invitee can feasibly go, block off dangerous areas, and post warning signage where appropriate.
Licensees are also owed a duty of care, but only the awareness of potential hazards. This can be addressed by blocking off areas that shouldn’t be accessed and posting appropriate signage. Finally, landowners in Kansas don’t owe any duty of care to trespassers unless they are minor children.
Were You Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
If you believe you were owed a duty of care that a property owner failed to meet, resulting in an accident causing injury, then reach out to Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. for legal assistance. We can help people like you pursue fair and just compensation for your injuries by taking a personalized approach to your case.
For more information about how we can help, contact Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. online or call us today at (888) 398-2277. Initial consultations are free!