Premises liability cases in Hollywood and other communities hinge on the idea that property owners owe a duty of care to the people who visit their properties. However, it is important to keep in mind that different types of visitors are owed different levels of care under the law. When it comes to premises liability, visitors are divided into a few categories:
1) Invitees. The highest level of care is owed to invitees or those who are invited to a property for business or commercial purposes that can benefit the property owner. For instance, diners at a restaurant and shoppers at a retail store are both invitees. However, workers who must access a property in order to do their job are also considered invitees. For example, utility workers and maintenance workers who need to access a property as part of their work are also considered invitees. Property owners are expected to inspect their properties regularly and fix any hazards to keep invitees safe. If there is a hazard that cannot be fixed right away, property owners are expected to provide a warning sign.
2) Licensees. Social guests such as friends and family fall under this category. For these guests, property owners are expected to correctly maintain a property and fix any dangers that are known. Unlike with invitees, property owners are not expected to check specifically for hazards.
3) Trespassers. Although they have fewer rights, trespassers still have some rights. Property owners are not allowed to make a hazardous condition on their property more dangerous and they are not allowed to intentionally create hazards on a property to discourage trespassing.
4) Children. Property owners have a special duty to protect children from hazards on their properties – and in some cases this duty extends to children trespassing on the property. In fact, under the “attractive nuisance doctrine,” property owners are expected to especially take precautions against any conditions on their property that could attract children who may trespass on the property. For example, if a homeowner has a pool in their backyard, they are expected to have a fence and locking gate around the pool area to prevent pool injuries at their Hollywood property. If a child trespasses and injures themselves on a trampoline, playground equipment, old appliances, or other items that are deemed attractive to a child, the homeowner may be held liable, even if the child was not invited onto the property.
In premises liability cases, personal injury plaintiffs in Hollywood need to prove three things:
•The property owner should have known about a hazard or did know about it
•The property owner did not fix a dangerous condition or failed to post warnings about the condition if it could not be fixed
•The plaintiff was injured by the condition
In addition, a court will decide what type of visitor the plaintiff was on the property. If the plaintiff was an invitee, for example, they will be owed more care and may be more likely to recover damages if they were injured on the property.
Do you think you may have a claim? To find out, contact Flaxman Law Group and set up a free, no obligation consultation.