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Duty of care depends on person's right to be on property

There are many people who own property in Tennessee. These people generally have a right to do what they want with their property. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Property owners do have a duty to ensure that people are not injured by dangerous conditions on the property. However, the exact level of care a property owner owes to an individual on his or her property depends on the specific status of the person who has entered onto the premises.

When people go onto another's property they generally fall into one of four different categories: a trespasser, a licensee, an invitee, or a matter of right. An invitee is a person who was invited onto the property. With regard to these individuals, an owner has a duty to use reasonable care to ensure that their guests are not injured. A property owner must also use ordinary care to licensees and social guests on the property. If the person is a trespasser, then a property owner must only refrain from willfully injuring the person trespassing.

Like other laws, there are some exceptions to these rules, such as if the trespasser is a child or if the owner discovered a trespass prior to the injury. If a person is injured on another's property and the owner did not exercise the proper level of care, then the injured person may be entitled to compensation for his or her damages if he or she succeeds on a personal injury lawsuit. This compensation can help pay for medical bills and cover lost wages.

Many people in Tennessee are injured on premises owned by others. However, simply being injured on another's property does not automatically mean that the property owner is liable for harm that is suffered. The duty of care is directly related to the reason that the person is on the property. Because of these classifications, these can be complicated cases that are highly fact-specific. Therefore, it is important to understand one's legal rights. Experienced attorneys may be able to help protect these rights and increase the chances that an individual may be able to succeed on a premises liability claim.

Source: Barristers Educational Services, "Premises Liability in Tennessee" accessed on Feb. 26, 2018

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