Can You Recover Damages For Injuries Sustained On Someone Else’s Property?

Property owners may have a duty to protect people from sustaining injuries on their property. If a property owner fails to meet that duty, a person may recover for his or her injuries depending on the specific facts of the case. Just because someone sustains injuries on someone’s property does not mean the property owner is responsible. The property owner must be legally responsible in order to be liable.

The status of the person injured on the property will determine that person’s right to compensation from the property owner. For instance, if a person is invited onto the property, the property owner has a duty to keep the property reasonably safe. However, if a person is trespassing on the property, the property owner would be liable if he or she created or maintained a condition, unknown to the trespasser, that is likely to cause serious harm to the trespasser, and failed to warn the trespasser about it.

There are many other nuances and pitfalls to premises liability law, and speaking to a lawyer who knows about these nuances is crucial to determining your rights. We have tried premises liability cases before juries in Connecticut for decades. We can advise you as to the likelihood of recovery given your specific set of facts.

Plaintiff Status

  • Invitee: Someone who has been invited onto the property because that person will confer some advantage to the property owner, such as a store patron. An owner of property is required to exercise reasonable care for the safety of the invitee.
  • Licensee: Someone who enters property for his or her own purpose and is present at the consent, but not the invitation, of the owner. The owner’s duty to a licensee is only to warn of hidden dangers.
  • Trespasser: An individual who enters the property without the knowledge or consent of the owner and who remains there without any right or permission. The property owner generally does not have a duty to protect trespassers; rather, they have a duty to refrain from intentional, willful, wanton or reckless conduct that causes injury to the trespasser. If a property owner knows that trespassers constantly intrude upon an area of their land, the property owner may be liable to the trespasser if he or she created a condition likely to cause serious bodily injury with the knowledge that the trespasser will not discover it, and fails to warn the trespasser of the condition and risk.

Property Condition And Activities

When a court considers activities and the condition of the property, the plaintiff must prove that the property owner has not met their duty of care with regard to these factors. This is accomplished through an examination of the circumstances surrounding the entry on the property, how the property was being used, the foreseeability of the plaintiff’s injury, and whether there was a reasonable expectation that the property owner should have made repairs or placed a warning about hazardous conditions.

Obviously, whether reasonable care has been rendered depends greatly upon the particular circumstances.

Child Safety

The property owner’s duty of care toward children is greater than the duty owed to adults. Even if the children are trespassers or engage in dangerous behavior, the property owner must still take precautions to prevent foreseeable harm to children.
Swimming pools provide the classic example of a property owner’s greater duty of care to children. Anyone with a swimming pool on their property is required to fence, gate, and lock their pools in a manner that keeps children out. They can be found liable for a child’s injury or death if they fail to take these precautions, even if the child was a trespasser who was warned to stay off the property.