The question most people want to know is if they fall and hurt themselves, can they collect money? The answer to that question is, “That depends on a number of factors and circumstances.” If you fall on someone else’s property, and that includes streets and sidewalks, then the person who owns the property or has control of the property generally owes to the person who fell a duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Furthermore, whether or not that duty is owed to the person who fell depends upon whether the injured person is a tres- passer, licensee or invitee. To this end, it is necessary to under- stand the three different types of people who may be on the property because the degree of responsibility owed by an owner or occupier varies according to the status (type) of the person who is injured.
These “Types” of Persons are Grouped as follows:
1. Invitees: Invitees are people who are on the landowner’s premises either to do business on the property or to benefit the landowner in some other way. Of all persons who are on someone else’s property, an invitee is owed the highest duty of care. The landowner has to inspect the premises for all defects, correct or minimize them and warn the invitee of any hidden dangers.
2. licensees: Licensees are persons who are on the premises of the landowner with implied or actual permission.They are generally on the land for their own benefit. The landowner owes you only the duty to warn of known or hidden defects in the property and is under no duty to inspect or repair the property. A person who is a social guest is a licensee; and,
3. Trespassers: Trespassers are people who are on another’s property without permission or consent. Generally, the owner of the property owes no duty to the trespasser, includ- ing no duty to warn, inspect, fix or prevent the trespasser from encountering normal hazards. An exception to this general rule would be if the owner of the property knew about or had notice of trespassers always trespassing on to a certain portion of their property and failed to warn of a known danger he or she knew about, or should have known about.
A good premise liability (slip and fall) lawyer will understand these different factors and will go beyond the obvious to find the person responsible for the negligence that caused you injury or suffering on these types of injury cases.