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What duty of care do you owe to visitors?

People may be coming and going on your property in Carnegie all the time. As a property owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that they remain safe while there. Yet just how far does that responsbilty extend? The answer to that question depends largely on what type visitor a person found on your land is determined to be. While you (and one who is is injured while on your property) may not currenlty understand such formalities, they may go a long way in protecting you in the event if a liability claim. 

There are generally three legal classifications of visitors: invitees, licensees and trespassers. Invitees are those that you have invited to come on to your property. Licensees are parties who may enter on to your property during the course of their wwork. Trespassers are people who come on to your property without your persmission. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has set the following standard for assigning property owner liability: 

  • You have a legal duty of care to visitors on your property
  • You failed to conform to that duty
  • There is a causal connection between that failure and the visitor's injury
  • The visitor sufffered actual loss or damages

Essentially, it all comes down to the duty of care you owe to each class of visitor. For invitees, you have a duty to protect them from any known or unknown (or reasonably anticipated) hazards that may exist on your land. You are required to protect licensees from any known dangers. In regards to trespassers on your property, you owe them no duty of care other than to avoid purposely injuring them or putting them in danger. 

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