Because many of your everyday duties and social engagements likely take place outside of your home, you probably spend much of your time on property owned or operated by other individuals. Friends' homes, schools, stores and your work location likely all fall outside your property line. Therefore, other individuals have a responsibility to ensure your safety and the safety of others who may set foot on the premises.
Because you or other parties could suffer injuries while on someone else's property, you may wish to understand how your visitor status could affect liability in the event that injuries do occur.
Types of visitors
Individuals who go onto other people's property typically fall into one of four categories regarding visitors. These categories include:
- Invitee - When the owner or operator of a property invites a person to the location, the visitor falls into the category of invitee. Customers going into stores often fit into this category.
- Licensee - A licensee also has the permission of the property owner or operator to come onto the property, though the property itself may not offer public access.
- Social guest - Someone welcome to another individual's property often falls into the category of social guest. Private homes often serve as venues for social guests.
- Trespasser - Trespassers make up the fourth type of visitor. A trespasser does not have permission to enter the property and has no right to enter.
Typically, an issued invitation grants the invitee access to the property and offers an implied assurance that the property does not present any safety issues. Similarly, social guests usually have the same implied assurance of property safety. However, this implication generally does not apply to licensees and trespassers, though some exceptions may exist.
If you entered someone's property as an invitee, social guest or possibly even a licensee, and suffered serious injuries on the property, you may have the ability to hold the owner or operator of the property liable for your injuries. However, the court will likely consider various aspects when examining your case, including your purpose on the property, the condition of the property, the foreseeability of the injury-causing accident and other similar factors.
Suffering serious injuries due to the conditions of property can have long-lasting impacts. Therefore, you may wish to seek compensation for your injuries and other allowable damages stemming from the accident. In order to understand your options and how your role as a visitor to the premises could affect your case, you may wish to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania attorney.