If you have suffered a slip and fall injury while on someone else’s property, you should speak to a Rogers slip and falls attorney to discuss your legal rights. This type of legal claim, where someone is injured while on someone else’s property, is known as a premises liability claim. With this type of claim, liability depends on who owned the premises and why you were on their premises at the time of your injury. Your reason for being there will determine your legal status which is very important in a premises liability case.
Liability Issues in Slip and Fall Cases
So-called “slip and fall” cases are very common types of personal injury cases and their success depends on determining whether the property owner owed the injured person a legal duty to keep the premises safe. If so, it must be determined whether that duty was breached. Most of the time, the owner of the property has at least some basic duty to keep the premises reasonably safe from known hazards.
Not All Injuries on Someone’s Property Results in Liability
The first thing clients should realize is that every situation where someone is injured on another’s property does not necessarily result in legal liability. The extent and nature of the property owners duty will depend on a wide variety of factors. That is why a Rogers slip and falls attorney can help you determine whether there is a potential legal claim to be made.
Why You Were Present on the Property is Important
Before you can determine the duty a property owner may have had, you must first determine why the injured person was on the property in the first place. Property owners have certain duties and obligations to the individuals who are on their property, but it always depends on the reason why they were there. In most situations, for example, property owners owe no duty to trespassers on their property.
On the other hand, if an injured person has a legitimate reason to be on someone’s property, the property owner can be held liable for your injuries. Those who are legitimately on the premises will likely be considered either a “licensee” or an “invitee.” The difference between a licensee and invitee is very important and an experienced Rogers slip and falls attorney can help you to understand the difference.
Invitee: Someone Invited on the Premises by the Owner
An invitee is someone who has been invited onto the premises by the property owner for the owner’s benefit. There are two categories of invitees: a business invitee and a public invitee. The distinction is based on the type of property at issue and the reason for the visit. For instance, if you are at a store to buy merchandise being sold by the store, then you are clearly a business invitee. If the property happens to be made available to the public, such as a park or library, then you would be considered a public invitee.
Licensee: Someone on the Premises for Their Own Purpose
Unlike a trespasser, both a licensee and an invitee have the permission of the property owner to be on the property. The difference between licensee and invitee is that a licensee is there for her own amusement, whereas an invitee is usually there for the benefit of the property owner. A licensee would be, for example, a guest at a party or a family friend who is visiting. Although they have an invitation or permission to be on the premises, there is no direct benefit to the property owner.
The Duties Owed to a Licensee and an Invitee
The duty a property owner owes to someone visiting the property depends on the classification of the visitor. Generally speaking, property owners have a duty to take reasonable care to protect the visitor from known dangerous conditions on the property. If the owner knew of a condition on his property that would pose an unreasonable risk of harm, which his visitors could not reasonably be expected to recognize, the owner must take reasonable care to either eliminate the danger or warn visitors.
Invitees are afforded the most protection, however, because they are on the premises for the specific purpose of furthering the business of the property owner. This means, with respect to invitees, the property owner must take the extra step of inspecting the premises and making sure it is safe.
If you have questions regarding slip and falls or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 616-6356.