Serving Maryland and Washington D.C. 301.870.1200

Understanding Types of Visitors for Maryland Premises Liability Claims

Under premises liability law in Maryland, a property owner has a legal duty to keep his or her premises safe. If there is a dangerous condition on the property, then the owner is the one responsible for correcting it or posting a warning at a minimum. When they do not honor this obligation, you as a visitor might have the legal right to file a lawsuit for injuries sustained. Premises liability claims can be complex, which is why you need the best Maryland personal injury attorney on your side.

To understand whether or not you have a right to file a lawsuit, Maryland law categorizes types of visitors and the duty owed to each.

Types of Visitors

There are four main categories of visitors that someone making a Maryland personal injury claim will be classified. These are:

  • Invitees: Invitees are the first category of visitors. These are people who enter a property for various commercial reasons. An invitee typically receives a direct invite from the property owner, although there are also implied invitees. These are people who are customers or vendors who will visit a business that is open to the public. Landowners owe the highest duty of care to invitees.
  • Licensees: Licensees are people who come to a property to visit family, friends, or for some other non-commercial purpose. Examples of licensees include social guests and other people who have the owner’s permission to visit the property.
  • Bare Licensees: Bare licensees are individuals who come to a property for their own reasons. They have to have permission from the owner, but there is no requirement that they make contact with the property owner.
  • Trespassers: Trespassers are the last category of visitor, and these are people who come to a property without permission from the owner. These are basically unlawful visitors who have trespassed onto property they have no right to be on. In many cases, trespassers may also be guilty of a crime while illegally on the property.

Defenses to a Premises Liability Claim

Be advised that just because you are a legal visitor to a property, it is not necessarily a slam dunk case. While your attorney will prepare the strongest case on why the landowner is liable, you can bet the defendant’s attorney will be relying on common defenses to get out of paying. In order to prove liability, you have to show that the property owner was negligent in maintaining their property. Perhaps it is a failure to remedy a known hazard or they did not put a sign up warning visitors about the hazard. Either way, you must show that the defendant knew or should have known about the hazard.

Defendants will argue that they were unaware of the hazard. In Maryland, premises liability claims do not require that you prove the property owner had “actual knowledge.” Instead, they can go forward on the legal theory of constructive knowledge. Essentially, constructive knowledge is when circumstances might suggest that a “reasonable” attentive and diligent property owner would have known about the hazard in question.

Contact a Charles County Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffered injuries while on someone else’s property, no matter whether it was a social visit or at a place of business, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at 301-870-1200 to schedule an initial consultation.

Categories: