What is Premises Liability?

By: Frank H. Bailey, Founder/Senior Partner

In personal injury law, it is common that where the event occurs is just as important as the event itself. Premise liability is the area of law created to separate out different tests for negligence, for distinct locations based on the aspects of interaction within that location. This form of liability is placed on the shoulders of the individual or group who own or control the premises. This could be anyone from a store owner to the parents in a household. Now that probably seems like a mouthful of an explanation so let’s give it a closer look.

As the premise owner, there are three main categories that another individual can fall into. These categories are what determines how much, and what type of duty of care you owe said individual(s). The three categories are as follows: invitee, licensee, and trespasser.

An invitee is the category that the premise owner affords the highest duty of care toward. An invitee is someone that the premise owner has invited onto the property for the owner or occupier’s benefit. The most common example of this relationship is a customer and store owner. The store owner owes what is called a duty of reasonable care to make sure the premise is safe for customers to walk around in. In a case, the judge and/or jury will decide if the store owner met this duty and this will determine liability.

A licensee is the middle tier for responsibility owed by the premise owner to the individual. A licensee is someone who is permitted to be on the premises but is not invited. Put another way, an invitee is someone who the owner wants to be on the premises whereas a licensee is someone the owner simply allows to be there. There are many particulars but the general duty of care to a licensee is to warn of any dangers on the premises that are not easily detected. There is generally no duty on the owner’s part though to maintain or repair the conditions of the premise though.

 Lastly, an owner owes the lowest level of duty toward a trespasser. This category is the most understood. A trespasser is either someone you do not want on your premise or someone you have never given permission to be on your premise. There is almost no duty of care an owner owes to a trespasser. The only duty owed is not to intentionally injure the trespasser for reasons other than self-defense.

Premise liability might initially seem like a topic for textbooks that does not make its way into everyday life but that could not be further from the truth. Anytime someone other than the premise owner themselves is on the property this topic comes into play. So, both as the owner of a property and the visitor of someone else’s property, it greatly helps to understand the legal issues involved so as to help avoid liability, or if you have been injured to help seek compensation. Here at Bailey & Oliver we have years of experience litigating complex cases and representing clients who have suffered from personal injuries. With our representation, you can rest assured that things like premise liability will not go overlooked when seeking the compensation, you deserve. Our office is located just West of Exit 81 on I-49 in Rogers, Arkansas.  Give us a call at 479-202-5200.

We serve Rogers, Bentonville, Springdale, Lowell, Bella Vista, Centerton, Decatur, Highfill, Cave Springs, Gravette, Pea Ridge, Fayetteville, Huntsville, Berryville, Eureka Springs and all of Arkansas.

Bailey & Oliver Law Firm, 3606 W. Southern Hills Blvd., Ste. 200, Rogers, AR  72758

Related blog:  What is Vicarious Liability?, July 17, 2017  http://www.baileyoliverlawfirm.com/news/2017/jul/17/what-vicarious-liability/