A property owner’s duty of care will depend on the status of the visitor. The owner will have more responsibility for your injuries if you are on the property for their benefit. If you are trespassing on private property, the owner generally does not owe you a duty, so you might not be able to hold them accountable for injuries. However, that could change if the injured party is a minor.
The important thing to remember is that a property owner is liable for the injuries you sustained on their property when you had a legal right to be on their premises. In New Jersey, property owners owe their tenants and invitees the highest duty of care.
A property owner’s duty of care
Forgetting to mow the lawn or take out the trash is less endangering than ignoring the buildup of ice on the walkway. A person could easily slip and break their back.
All property owners, whether the property is commercial, private or public, have a legal obligation to maintain their property and keep it safe for visitors. Once the property owner discovers a dangerous condition on their property, they have a duty to do the following:
- Fix the dangerous condition
- Prevent access to the area where the dangerous condition exists
- Provide reasonable notice of the dangerous condition and risk of injury
They are negligent when they fail to immediately repair potential hazards on their property or warn visitors about the dangerous conditions. A person who suffers injuries due to the property owner’s negligence can pursue a premises liability to recover compensation.
The property owner is not always liable
Each property is different. While a private property owner or homeowner is directly responsible for maintaining their home, a commercial property owner may transfer their duty of care to a property management company or another occupier. Public property is another story altogether. What matters is that the negligent party is legally bound to the property in one way or another. They do not have to be the property owner.
So, you see, premises liability claims are extraordinarily complex. They can involve multiple parties and varying degrees of liability. To secure adequate and fair compensation, you would need a thorough understanding of the principles of negligence and liability.