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Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
(833) 997-1774

Premises liability law states that a property owner can be held responsible in cases where a person sustains an injury while on their property. This area of law holds property owners accountable for maintaining their property in reasonably safe condition. This includes protecting against deck collapses, slips and falls, negligent security, and other dangers.

I was injured while unlawfully entering someone else’s property. Can I still sue?

Multiple factors are taken into consideration when liability is being established, primarily the visitor’s purpose or reason for entering the property.

If you were hurt on another person’s property, the reputable Virginia premises liability attorneys of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you understand the law as it pertains to your case and help you secure the full and fair financial compensation you are entitled to for your damages.  

What Is a Licensee?

A licensee is anyone who is permitted to be and remain on another’s property, with the owner’s consent, for their own benefit.

For example, a person who was given permission by the property owner to camp or hike on the land would be considered a licensee. A utility company that is given permission to fix broken pipes on the property would also be considered a licensee.  

What Duty of Care is Owed to Licensees?

A property owner would be liable for any injuries sustained by a licensee if they were aware of a hazard on their property but took no steps to address or repair the issue. The property owner has a duty to alert licensees to any potential hazards. They are, however, under no obligation to inspect their premises before a licensee enters.

What Is an Invitee?

An invitee is someone whom the property owner has expressly invited onto their premises for a lawful purpose.

For example, a neighbor or friend that the owner invited for dinner, and a customer making a purchase at a retail store would both be considered invitees.

What Are the Two Classes of Invitees?

Invitees are further delineated into two distinct classes:

  • Public Invitees: A public invitee is someone who enters a property that is open to the public, such as someone who uses a computer at their public library or who goes for a walk in a public park.
  • Business Invitees: A business invitee is someone who legally enters the premises to conduct business with the property owner,

For a business invitee, the responsible party will typically be the owner of the business; for a public invitee, a government agency, such as the Parks & Recreation Department, is usually held responsible.

What Duty of Care is Owed to Invitees?

A property owner could be held liable for any injuries sustained by invitees if they were aware of or reasonably should have been aware that the hazardous condition existed when inspecting their property. Property owners have a duty of care to caution their invitees of any potential dangers, as well as a duty to thoroughly inspect their property for any hazards that might result in injuries. 

What Is a Trespasser?

A trespasser is anyone who enters or remains on someone else’s property with no legal right or permission to do so.

For example, someone breaking into a home, camping on someone else’s land without their permission, or hanging around inside a store with no intention of conducting any business would be a trespasser.  

What Duty of Care is Owed to Trespassers?

In general, a property owner is not liable for any injuries to a trespasser. They are not obligated to inform them of hazards or to inspect the premises and ensure it is safe for them. 

Contact a Virginia Premises Liability Attorney

If you were injured at a hotel, public park, grocery store, or another public establishment, and you suspect you have a legitimate premises liability case, reach out to the Virginia personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp by calling (833) 997-1774 or by filling out the contact page on our website. We will review the facts of your accident and advise you on the best course of action for receiving financial compensation.  

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