Better Students Ask More Questions.
What are the main areas of homeowner liability in the United States?
1 Answer | add yours
Middle School Teacher
Liability simply refers to being legally obliged to conduct oneself in a particular way and being legally responsible for any damages that occur from inappropriate conduct. All homeowners have a liability to protect any person from harm or injury that enters their premises. There are three areas under which a homeowner is liable to anyone on the homeowner's premises:
Invitees: Under tort law, an invitee is anyone who was invited onto a person's property by the owner of the property for lawful reasons. An invitee can be a member of the public if the homeowner's land is considered open to the public or a professional invited to do business on the property. Hired contractors would be one example of invitees. A homeowner has a legal responsibility to make sure the property is safe for the invitee by doing proper inspections. The homeowner must also warn any invitee of any hazards that the owner is incapable of fixing at the time. Plus, if any contractor injures any other invitee, then the homeowner is liable for that invitee's injuries.
Licensees: Licensees differ from invitees in that a licensee is invited onto the homeowner's property by the homeowner despite the fact that the property is not open to the general public, usually for social reasons. Just like with invitees, a homeowner has a legal responsibility to make sure that the property is safe for all licensees to enter or to warn licensees if there are any hazards.
Trespassers: While a trespasser will be liable for trespassing, homeowners also have a legal obligation not to intentionally hurt a trespasser. For unknown trespassers, a homeowner has a legal duty not to intentionally trap or hurt the trespasser. If the homeowner expects or discovers the trespasser, then the homeowner is subjected to a "duty of common humanity." Under this duty, the homeowner is held liable for either intentionally harming the trespasser or failing to warn the trespasser of hazardous conditions. For example, a homeowner must surround an unfinished swimming pool with warning signs should a trespasser happen to enter the premises. However, a trespasser can only sue a homeowner if he/she can prove that the homeowner intentionally or maliciously harmed the trespasser. Also, while a homeowner may force the trespasser off of his/her property, the homeowner cannot do so if forcing the trespasser would cause serious harm. For example, a homeowner cannot force a trespasser off of his/her property should a trespasser seek shelter from a dangerous storm.
Posted by tamarakh on January 31, 2014 at 3:54 AM (Answer #1)
Related QuestionsSee all »
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.