Premises law indicates that property owners, public or private, have a duty of care to make their property safe. It holds them liable for falls and other injuries that occur on their property. Injured parties in Indiana may be able to sue to recover damages, but certain factors could determine if they have a case against the property owner.
Some states apply the status of the visitor in determining liability. Types of status include invitees, social visitors, trespassers and licensees. An invitee commonly has implied permission to be on the premises such as a grocery store delivery worker or a friend. The owner has a higher duty of care to invitees, who can reasonably expect clear walkways and other hazard-free spaces.
A licensee has the same implied permission, but it generally applies to contractors or sales people. While the owner commonly owes less of a duty of care to licensees, the owner still has to warn of hazards.
Property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers as they have no legal right to be on the premises and often act negligently. However, there could be a loophole if it involves children or deliberately not placing warning signs.
Other proof needed to file a claim
The plaintiff in a premises liability case must prove that the owner had the duty of care to maintain the property and had reasonable time to fix the problem. For example, if a welcome mat covered in snow or wet from rain caused a person to fall, the owner may not have known about the hazard early in the morning.
However, if the hazard existed at a time when the owner should have been aware of it, the plaintiff may have a case. The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant breached this standard duty of care and that it caused injury.
Premises liability law can be complex with many exceptions. If an injured person feels that the property owner owed them a duty of care and failed to exercise it, they may have a case. An attorney may help them gather evidence to support their claim.