Trespasser premises liability cases, are there complexities?1
“Premises liability” holds that owners or managers of property are legally responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. The exact wording of the legislation varies between States, but, as a land owner if you are uncertain it could be best to consult a specialist such as attorney Rockville Maryland.
There exist a number of well known lawsuit cases such as the man who sued Winnebago for mistaking cruise control for autopilot, the elderly woman who sued McDonald’s for providing her with a coffee that was too hot and the case of the trespasser who sued the premises owner for injury while on the premises. The belief that should a trespasser enter your property you are liable to be sued if they injure themselves is not entirely the true.
On investigating cases it is evident that decisions can swing either way, depending on the finest of details. In the case James Chapman v. Gerald Willey (a motel owner) where the former got into a fight with another man who was residing at the motel which he visited. The fighting began in the motel’s grounds following the trading of insults earlier in the evening. During the fight Chapman fell down a flight of stairs and sustained injuries, he proceeded to sue the motel for his injuries. The court ruled in favour of the motel owner as Chapman (a non-resident of the motel) was deemed to be trespassing. The ruling against Chapman based on his trespassing status does not exempt property owners all together as they will remain liable if they intentionally cause injuries to anybody deemed to be a ‘trespasser’ – a person who enters a property without a landowner’s consent.
As home or business owner the onus is on you to ensure the minimum potential risk to anybody who comes to your premises. Although impossible in some instances, premises owner should be extra vigilant and proactive in guaranteeing safety.
Should there be any ambiguity regarding a case or incident specialists such as the premises liability lawyer Rockville can assist with your queries.