• Determining Premises Liability After an Accident or Injury

    A property owner owes a duty of care to those that enter the premises, such as ensuring there is no obvious hazard that poses a threat to safety. Legally, this means the owner or the resident of a property has a responsibility to visitors to ensure the environment is reasonably safe. An example includes clearing ice when you have mail delivered daily. If the mailperson slips on ice that should have been cleared, they could have a case. However, if they were acting negligently or were intoxicated, which led to the slip, the claim is likely not valid as your duty of care was satisfied but their own negligence led to their injury.

    In New Jersey, premises liability comes into play when an injury is caused by a dangerous condition that should have been foreseeable as a risk, thus leading to injury or posing a risk to an identifiable person. In the state, there must be actual damage for a claim to be considered valid. This means if the walkway is slick, but no one falls, there isn’t a case. However, under the same conditions, if the person does fall, compensation can be sought under premises liability. The type of visitor can also have an impact on the case.

    Invitee Versus Licensee Versus Trespasser

    Understanding the type of visitor can help in legal defense against a premises liability case. On the other side, understanding what type of visitor you were when visiting a location in which you were injured can help sculpt your case.

    • Invitee. This includes people who are invited onto the property. A good example of an invitee is a customer visiting a retail store. By inviting customers into an establishment, it implies precaution has been taken to ensure the safety of those who enter the premises.
    • Social Guest. Someone who is invited into your home as a social guest, such as a friend or family member, is a social guest. This is a welcomed visitor you have verbally or otherwise invited to come onto the property.
    • Licensee. This is similar to a social guest but they have entered the property for their own purpose and is there with permission of the owner of the property, such as a repairman or a salesperson that is welcomed in.
    • Trespasser. Someone that enters the property without any right. Since they were not welcomed onto the property nor had consent from the owner to be present, they are not owed a duty of care.

    If you have been injured due to the negligence of a property owner that welcomed you onto the premises, contact our team today to find out if you have a case worth pursuing.

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