What You Should Know About Premises Liability in Arizona

By on November 7, 2012

Under a legal theory known as premises liability, owners and occupiers of land are responsible for preventing injuries to people who enter their property. A landowner who fails to live up to that duty can be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result.

The principle of premises liability applies to private landowners and tenants as well as business owners and commercial establishments. The extent of the duty to protect visitors depends on the type of visitor and his or her reasons for entering the property. Arizona premises liability attorneys can more fully explain the duties and liabilities of a property owner; a brief overview is provided below.

Arizona Business Owners' Duties to Invitees

An invitee is someone who enters property with express or implied permission for a business purpose, such as a customer at a grocery store or movie theater. The law requires business owners to protect customers by warning them of any dangerous conditions on the property, such as a slippery walkway or a broken railing. A business may be liable for injuries resulting from its failure to warn if:

  • It knew of the dangerous condition, or
  • An employee created the dangerous condition, or
  • The dangerous condition existed for a period of time long enough that someone at the business should have discovered it

Arizona Property Owners' Duties to Licensees

A licensee is someone who visits a property with permission for non-commercial reasons, most often a social guest. A landowner is required to warn licensees of any non-obvious dangers that the he or she is aware of, such as a loose floorboard or a scalding hot exposed pipe. The landowner's duty to warn is increased when dealing with child visitors who may not recognize hazards that would be obvious to an adult.

Arizona Property Owners' Duties to Trespassers

A trespasser is anyone who enters someone else's property without permission. Generally, landowners are not liable for injuries to trespassers unless they cause the injury deliberately, for instance by setting a trap.

Child trespassers, however, are owed a higher duty of care in certain cases. A landowner can be liable for injuries to a child who is attracted by something on the property and is subsequently injured by it, such as a child who falls into a neighbor's swimming pool. To avoid liability, the landowner must take reasonable steps to protect children who they know may be attracted to the danger.

Negligent Security in Arizona

Landowners may also be held liable for injuries that occur on their property as a result of attacks by third parties if they fail to adequately secure the premises. Arizona negligent security lawyers have seen related issues appear in many situations on different types of properties, ranging from broken locks in an apartment building, to poor lighting in a parking garage, or inadequate security personnel in a shopping mall.

If you've been injured on the property of another in the Tucson area, whether at another's home or at a place of business, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries. A Tucson personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights so that you can focus on your recovery.