According to premises liability laws, a property owner is supposed to maintain the property reasonably well, so that persons entering the property remain safe. In certain states, the duties of the property owner will be limited depending on the visitor’s status. The type of visitor is divided into three categories.


The invitee is a visitor who has the implied or express permission of the property owner for entering the property. Such visitors would include neighbors, relatives, friends, and so on. The property owner has an official duty of reasonably maintaining the property to make it safe for all invitees.


The licensee visitor has the implied or express permission of the property owner, but comes to the property to fulfill his or her own purpose. Such visitors would include sales representatives, technicians, plumbers, cable repairman, electricians, and so on. The property owner usually has the duty of warning the licensee of any dangerous condition(s) on the property that might pose a risk to them or their equipment. This is certainly the case when the property owner knows about such risks and the licensee is not likely to discover the risk without someone pointing it out.

Even if the risk is obvious to discern the property owner and/or the property management should let anyone know about what they are going to or might encounter. It is just professional and considerate to do so. If there is a risk there or if the risk is evident the property owner may even want to record the conversation or make an official entry somewhere that this licensee was properly warned about the issue.


The trespasser does not have implied or express permission of the property owner to enter the property. Unless the trespasser is a child, the property owner does not owe any duty, and does not have to warn the person of any risks. In the case of a child trespasser, the property owner has the duty to exercise reasonable care for avoiding reasonably foreseeable risks that might harm the child.

Usually most premises liability cases pertain to slip and fall injuries. Some of the common dangerous situations that lead to slip and fall are wet floors, defective staircases, torn or unsecured carpets, accumulation of snow or ice, wires across walkways or paths, loose tiles, and broken floors, and liquid spills on the floor area.

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