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Determining fault often depends on the situation of the victim

When a person gets injured on private property, there are several factors that are taken into consideration when determining fault. Each situation is unique, however there are several distinctions that are to be made in order to determine how much the property owner may be at fault, if at all.

For places like shopping malls, grocery stores, retail stores and hotels, guests on the property are called invitees. Property owners must take proactive measures to monitor the condition of the premises and make certain that no hazards exist, or if they do exist, that they are properly and promptly addressed. A good example of this would be the yellow signs you see when there is a spill in a grocery store, or a restaurant mopping up their floors at the end of the night.

Licensees are guests who are on private property for social reasons, such as a family gathering or party at a person's home. A property owner must still make reasonable care to assure that the property is safe, but not to the extent of a store owner.

Trespassers must also still be warned of known dangers, especially on property where it is known of the likelihood of trespassers on the property. Children trespassers also pose additional issues, as they are not always able to identify when a danger or hazard is present. In order to prevent the possibility of a premises liability suit, property owners must be able to identify when a potential hazard is considered an "attractive nuisance", meaning it could attract young children to the area. Good examples of these include pools and machinery that may be of interest to a child but could pose grave dangers.

Source: FindLaw, "Property Owners' Legal Duty to Prevent Injury," Accessed on April 4, 2017

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