Premises Liability

Premises Liability

Many people are injured as a result of an individual’s, Landlord’s, business’ or other property owner’s failure to adequately upkeep their property.  This kind of lawsuit is similar to a common negligence claim, but is typically called “premises liability.”  Broken stairs, icy walkways, and damaged sidewalks can all result in injuries that subject the property owner to a premises liability claim.  Additionally, other dangerous conditions such as trampolines, swimming pools, slippery floors, unsecured electric wires, or even a banana peel that hasn’t been picked up can give rise to a lawsuit.

If you’re contemplating a lawsuit for your injuries that occurred on someone else’s property, click here to build a good understanding of what a personal injury case looks like, from start to finish, and to see numerous examples of official lawsuit related documents.

Typical Law Governing Premises Liability

Before deciding whether or not a property owner is liable for the injuries of another as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, we must first define the status of the individual that was injured.

An individual on the property can have the status of (1) invitee, (2) licensee, or (3) trespasser.

An Invitee.  An invitee is typically a person who enters onto property (usually business property) that is held open to the public.

A property owner is liable for the injuries of an invitee if (1) the property owner knew or should’ve known of an activity or condition on the property that presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the invitee; (2) he knew the invitee would be unlikely to discover and/or protect himself from the dangerous activity or condition; (3) he did not use reasonable care to repair, replace, or adequately warn about the activity or condition that injured the invitee.

A LicenseeA licensee is one who enters onto property with the express or implied permission of the property owner.

A property owner is liable for the injuries of a licensee if (1) the property owner knew or should’ve known of an activity or condition on the property that presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the licensee; (2) he knew the licensee would be unlikely to discover and/or protect himself from the dangerous activity or condition; (3) the property owner failed to use reasonable care to repair, replace, or adequately warn about the activity or condition that injured licensee; (4) the licensee in fact did not discover or realize the danger of the condition or activity on the premises before he was injured.

In Utah, courts have set out requirements necessary in proving your case that are almost identical for both an invitee and a licensee.  Notice that there is an extra requirement for licensee’s—listed here as #4.

A TrespasserA trespasser is an individual who enters onto property without invitation, permission, privilege, or consent of the property owner.

General RuleAs a general rule, a property owner does not owe trespassers any kind of duty to use reasonable care to put the property in a safe condition.  Therefore, if someone trespasses onto another’s property and winds up injured, they may not have any recourse.  However, there are exceptions.

Known TrespassersIf a property owner knows or has reason to know that trespassers frequently intrude upon a limited area of his property, and they do so in an area that subjects them to danger, that property owner may be liable for injuries the trespassers sustain because of that same danger.

Trespassers & Artificial ConditionsIf a property owner maintains an artificial condition on the property (anything not natural, such as a man-made stream, swimming pool, landscaping, etc.) that he knows is likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to another, the property owner knows trespassers come onto the land near that artificial condition, and the trespassers are injured due to that artificial condition, the property owner may be liable for the trespassers’ injuries.

Trespassing Children.  This is similar to the above, artificial condition requirements.  The difference here, however, is that the artificial condition must be one that the property owner knew would attract children to it.  In this kind of lawsuit, courts will also engage in a kind of balancing test, weighing the burden on the property owner of eliminating the danger vs. the risk to the children.  If the burden of eliminating the danger is great, and the risk to the children is small, the property owner may not be liable.

Click here for more information on what it takes to win a personal injury case.

Call Red Law For A Consultation

Our office welcomes new clients and will always provide you with a friendly and professional attorney that will be happy to discuss your case with you.  If you’d like to discuss your injuries that resulted on another individual’s property and a potential lawsuit with a Red Law attorney, please call us at 801-4770-RED or email us at contact@redlawutah.com.  In a consultation with a Red Law attorney, your attorney will provide you with a professional opinion of your case, how Red Law can help you, and a rough time frame for your potential lawsuit.