Check your status: Types of visitors in premises liability cases

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Premises Liability |

Everyone has been to places they don’t own, but not everyone suffers from catastrophic injuries or death while they’re at it. Whether you find yourself in a restaurant, shopping mall, grocery store, amusement park, or private home, land or building, you may have had minor stumbles occasionally due to your carelessness.

But in tragic accidents involving, but not limited to, animal attacks, fires or explosions, and severe slip-and-fall or swimming pool injuries, you may need to pursue liable parties to address damages. Every property owner must exercise a reasonable duty of care through adequate upkeep and warnings for the safety of anyone entering their premises. But the extent of compensation you may receive depends on your visitor status. 

Which visitor are you?

Under New Jersey law, you may fall into either of the following visitor categories:

  • Invitees: These people, such as potential customers or store patrons, are on the property out of expressed or implied invitation for the owner’s benefit. Their visitation brings financial gain to the owner. But even if they do not purchase anything, their status still entitles them to the highest duty of care.
  • Licensees: These are social guests, who may be visiting friends or family members. They come to the property for their own reasons, which entitles them to a duty of care lower than invitees and only obliges the owner to warn them of any imperceptible hazard.
  • Trespassers: These are individuals not permitted to be on the property. The owner does not owe them any protective duty except not to willfully cause them harm.

If you’re a worker injured while performing your tasks, you may pursue a workers’ compensation claim. But if you were working at a property not owned by your employer, you may proceed with filing a premises liability claim.

Children also have their special classification. “Attractive nuisances,” like kiddie pools or trampolines, may threaten their safety. But since they do not have adult cognitive abilities to detect danger, property owners must lessen risks by reinforcing preventive measures, like building a fence or putting up additional signs. 

Your status matters

Establishing your visitor status or relationship with the property owner can make or break your premises liability case. It is also imperative to gather adequate evidence to support your claim, so your legal team can help you recover much-needed compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.