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Premises Liability: The Law, the Application, and the Limitations

Premises liability is a legal principle applied in claims and lawsuits, most commonly involving personal injury and accidents. The heart of premises liability is rooted in the basic constructs of legal responsibilities and accountability – in other words, the law.

Premises Liability and the Law

According to the word of the law, premises liability holds property owners (including tenants who assume ownership as property residents) responsible for accidents, injuries, or damages that occur on their property, and this principle applies to every state in the country. The law clarifies that said ownership must make reasonable efforts to maintain the property and provide a safe environment for any visitors.

The Application of Premises Liability in Lawsuits and Claims

Those aforementioned visitors are typically classified legally as either an invitee or a licensee. People welcomed onto a property for reasons such as shopping or dining are considered invitees, while a licensee is commonly used to define someone such as a contractor or service person, wherein that same welcome and invitation are assumed and applied.

For people deemed as an invitee or licensee, the application and onus of the premises liability principle fall squarely on the shoulder of the property owner. There are limitations and reasonable guidelines, however, that prevent and work to stem anyone seeking to abuse these laws for personal advantage and gain.

The Limitations of Premises Liability

Many events can occur that have the potential to fall under the blanket of premises liability. Those events can range from animal attacks to falling accidents and security issues to swimming pool injuries, among many others.

The greatest limitation of the premises liability principle in these situations is in the case of trespass, although it is often required for owners to notify people of non-obvious dangers, including trespassers. The other great limitation to the application of premises liability is children. In cases involving minors, a higher duty of care is owed, thus inviting a new legal arena of responsibility.

Premises Liability is Good for Everyone

Premises liability, it is a legal principle designed to protect homeowners, tenants, and business owners from scam artists and cons. It is a tenet created to keep shoppers, patrons, and visitors safe, and it is a legal concept meant to keep all of us accountable, and that’s good for everyone.