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What is Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to when an owner is responsible to pay for injuries that occur on their property. When property owners have someone on their property, there is a reasonable expectation of safety. Some of the most common claims include injuries due to:

  • Slip & fall cases
  • Falling equipment or accidents due to construction
  • Poor security that resulted in assault or theft

For example, a business has the responsibility to keep their floors clear and dry so that their customers don’t slip or fall. If the floor is wet, they must clean it up in a timely manner and warn customers of the hazard until they do. Accidents can happen, which is why most stores have large yellow “caution” signs they can put down if they notice a spill or some other hazard on the floor.

Property owners aren’t automatically responsible for all injuries that occur, just those that come due to them not maintaining their property, or warning visitors of potential problems. What counts as a reasonable expectation or who is responsible for an accident can be different depending on your local and state laws.

Duty of Care

The responsibility of a business or landowner is to keep their property reasonably safe for visitors, but that responsibility can change depending on who is on their property. This is also known as the duty of care they have for guests. There are two broad categories visitors can fall into: those who are invited, and those who are not.


If you are on someone else’s property with their permission, they generally have the responsibility to provide a reasonably safe environment for you. An invitee typically refers to a friend, neighbor, or family member on private property. In general, a landowner has the most responsibility for an invitee.

A licensee is someone who has permission to be on the property, but they are typically not personally known by the landowner. This can include customers in a store, door-to-door salesmen, or professionals like plumbers and electricians.


A trespasser is anyone who enters a property without the permission or approval of the owner. This can refer to anyone from a thief to someone who might use a backyard as a short cut. In most states, the duty of care a landowner must provide a trespasser is limited. Someone on a property illegally can bear full responsibility for any injuries they sustain. This does not mean that a property owner is never responsible for injuries, only that it can be harder to prove liability in cases where the person injured was trespassing.

Accidents Involving Children

In many states, one notable exception to the duty of care a property owner has towards a trespasser is when that person is a child. An adult can read a “no trespassing” sign, but a young child might not understand what it means. A landowner often has the responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of children on their property, even those who trespass.

Get Cash Before Your Lawsuit Is Settled

If you have a premises liability claim because of injuries you received and need cash to pay for things now, give us a call. We can help connect you with a company willing to offer you an advance on your expected claim.

Peachtree Financial does not offer legal, tax, or financial advice. Please contact independent professionals for those services.

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