Injured on Another's Property?
Property owners owe general duties of care to visitors on their properties, but the degree of care depends upon the property owner’s relationship to the visitor. A visitor can be an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser. A property owner owes the highest degree of care to an invitee, and the lowest degree of care to a trespasser.
If a property owner has invited you onto the premises, you are an invitee. For example, the owner of a store invites customers onto the premises by hanging an “Open” sign in the window. Because business owners owe a much higher degree of care to their invitees, they are responsible for inspecting the property to identify dangers that could harm visitors. In addition, business owners are responsible for correcting any dangerous conditions of which the property owners should be aware, or otherwise provide clear warning of these dangers to visitors.
Licensees are visitors invited onto a property for a non-business purpose. Social guests are typically considered licensees. Property owners are responsible for fixing any dangerous conditions that exist on the property. However, property owners must repair only known dangers when it comes to licensee visitors. Unlike business owners, property owners who invite licensees will not be held responsible for dangers of which they are not aware.
When it comes to trespassers, property owners owe only a minor duty of care. Property owners may not intentionally create dangerous conditions in order to stave off trespassers. Otherwise, property owners have no further responsibility for dangers encountered by trespassers on their property.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of a dangerous condition on another’s property, your ability to recover will depend on your relationship to the property owner. Your potential recovery may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or even compensation for wrongful death. It is important to work with an experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorney who can maximize your compensation.