When people visit your home, they have a “reasonable expectation” of not being the victim of an injury. This “expectation” applies whether you are the owner or a non-owner resident. It is your responsibility to maintain a safe environment for people who come to your home socially or on business, and it is called “premises liability.” The legal theory behind “premises liability” holds all property owners and residents liable if an accident or injury occurs.
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Visitors to Your Property
If you purchase a new chair to be delivered to your residence, and the delivery person slips and falls on some oil spilled in your driveway, he or she can sue you for any injuries received. If, however, the delivery person acted in a careless manner or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she may not have a valid claim against you. If you are hosting a party and someone is injured during the activities, they may have a valid claim against you even if it was another guest that caused the injury.
The Legal Status of Visitors
According to Find Law.com, laws will vary from state to state, so it is important to consult an attorney to find out the exact law in your state. In states the court focuses only on the status of the injured party when determining if there is liability. The four statuses that apply when the court considers these cases are:
This is a person who is invited onto another person’s property. The property can be a residence or a business. Because they are invited, the implication is the renter or owner has taken reasonable steps to make the premises safe.
Social guest –
This is a person who is on the property as a guest of the owner or possessor. The guest can assume reasonable safety precautions have been taken.
The licensee enters the property for a purpose of his or her own and is present at the consent of the owner.
The trespasser is on the property without the permission of the owner or the property possessor.
There is no implied promise that reasonable care has been taken to assure the property’s safety when it comes to the safety of the property in the case of licensees or trespassers.
In other states, the judge will focus on property conditions and the activities the visitor and owner were participating in at the time the injuries occurred. It’s necessary to understand that the tenant of a rental property will be treated the same as a landowner in the majority of legal situations.
According to the Small Business Administration, whether you own or rent a business, it is imperative you protect yourself against any legal claims for injuries by purchasing liability insurance. Liability insurance will vary depending on whether it is for a private residence or for a business. Talk to your insurance agent to determine what type of policy offers you the best liability protection.