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How does legal status of visitor affect premises liability?

Virginia residents may be aware generally of the concept that once they enter someone's property, they have the reasonable expectation that they will not get hurt on the property owner's property. This is why property owners spend time cleaning oil slicks and shoveling snow off the driveway-to ensure that they are creating the safe environment that they are legally responsible to. This concept is known as premises liability.

Under this legal theory, if you get hurt on someone's property then the property owner is liable for the injuries and accidents that take place. When determining liability, some states look to the status of the person entering the property and other states look at the condition of the property.

Where the person is an invitee, that is someone who has been invited onto the property, such as a customer in a shop, the property owner must take reasonable steps to assure the safety of their premises. A licensee is someone who is entering with the consent of the property owner and is entering for their own purpose. A trespasser on the other hand is someone who is entering the property without any right to do so.

It is important to note that when it comes to licensees and trespassers, the property owner is under no obligation to ensure the safety of their premises, unlike the case of an invitee, where there is an obligation to ensure reasonable safety.

If a Virginia resident has been injured in a grocery store or a shopping mall by a negligent property owner in a slip and fall accident, they may be able to receive compensation from them, because the property owner has breached their duty.

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