If you have slipped and fallen on someone else’s property, it may take several weeks or months to recover from your injuries. Some slip-and-fall victims experience injuries that are so severe that they may never fully recover. One of the best ways to recover damages is to file a premises liability claim against the property owners responsible for your accident.
Property owners owe duty of care to legal visitors
If you decide to file a slip-and-fall claim following your accident, you generally must prove that the owner of the property was liable for your accident. One of the first steps is establishing that you were a legal visitor on the property at the time of the incident.
The duty of care owed to a visitor will depend on their status. Visitors may be classified as:
- Invitees: A person explicitly or implicitly invited onto the property (e.g., store customers or hotel guests). Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees to ensure their safety on the property, which includes the duty to repair and/or warn of the known dangerous conditions, and the duty to reasonably inspect the premises for possible dangers.
- Licensee: A person who enters premises for their own purposes or social purposes with the owner’s consent. Property owners owe licensees a lower level of care than they owe invitees. The owner has a duty to take reasonable care to protect licensees from known hazards, but not to reasonably inspect the premises.
- Trespassers: Property owners do not generally owe a duty of care to trespassers, or persons who enter the premises without legal authority to do so, but they cannot intentionally cause them injury. Property owners who know of frequent trespassers may be liable for injuries that occur on the property due to a dangerous condition, but only under certain circumstances.
Establishing your visitor status is often the first step to proving that a property owner should be held liable for damages related to your slip-and-fall. An attorney in the Missoula area can help prove your status as well as other elements of your premises liability claim.