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Injuries to People on Your Property

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Do I Owe Any Duty to People On My Property?

If you own property, your legal title is “landowner.” If you rent the land, you are an “occupier” or “possessor.” Landowners and possessors of land have limited duties to protect from harm other people who walk onto their land.

What Duties Do I Owe?

Traditionally, the law put other people on your land into one of three categories: trespasser, licensee, and invitee.

  • Trespassers do not have the permission of the landowner to be on the land, and are thus afforded very limited protection.  Landowners only have a duty to warn trespassers of concealed animal traps and the like, when trespassers could be on the land.
  • Licensees enter the land with the permission of the landowner, such as social guests and police officers. The landowner must warn a licensee of concealed dangers like a hoe buried in the grass, as well as natural dangers such as quicksand.
  • Invitees were invited by the landowner to be there, such as business guests and members of the public. The landowner must warn the invitee of all dangers on the property, whether its existence is concealed or obvious. The landowner must remove all dangers if reasonable. 

A minority of states, including California, have abolished these traditional categories, and hold landowners to the same duty of care for all individuals on the land. 

Do I Need An Attorney for My Premises Liability Issue?

If you are a landowner being sued by someone who was injured on your property, or if you were injured on another’s property, a personal injury attorney can help you evaluate whether your case is strong.

Photo of page author Gabrielle Hollingsworth

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 03-13-2017 11:09 AM PDT

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