When someone enters a property, they are trusting that they will not get injured on the property. This puts the responsibility of keeping everyone safe in the hands of the property owner. The property owner can be held accountable if anything happens to someone on while on his property. This can vary to a minor injury such as slipping to a more major injury. Each states laws are different, courts may try to focus on the status of the visitor on the property or the actual condition of the property after the visitation. 

Status of the Visitor

There are four categories a visitor can fall under:

  • Invitee- The owner has invited this person or customer onto the premises. Typically the owner has taken steps to ensure the safety of those invited
  • Licensee- Enters the property for his own purpose but at the consent of the property owner
  • Social Guest- A welcome visitor
  • Trespasser- Enters a property without the consent of the owner

For licensees and trespassers, no promise for safety has been made by the property owner

Condition of Property/Actions of Visitor

When assessing the property and visitor's actions, one must investigate:

  • The circumstances in which the visitor entered the property
  • The use of the property
  • The foreseeability of the accident that occurred
  • Reasonableness of the owner to repair dangerous conditions or to warn visitors about hazardous areas on the property

If an owner is aware that trespassing is occurring and there are dangers on the property, the owner needs to take steps to give reasonable warning about these hazards to the trespassers. Example, No trespassing or 'beware of dog' signs. 

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