Ted Babbitt | 05/13/2018

Homeowners may be liable for an injury caused on their property. A homeowner’s liability may be dependent on the classification of the person who is on the property and is injured. 

Generally, a person in a home is there in one of three classifications.

  1. A trespasser is someone who is not permitted on the property. The only liability of a homeowner to a trespasser is to refrain from willfully or intentionally injuring them on the property. If the homeowner is aware of a nonobvious dangerous condition on the property, the homeowner does have a responsibility to warn potential trespassers who are anticipated to come on the property. This is usually done by putting up a sign warning of the danger. 
  2. The second classification of someone who might be in a home is that of a licensee. That is the classification given most social guests in the home and generally covers anyone who is on the property with permission but is not there for business purposes. A homeowner has a responsibility to warn a licensee of any dangerous conditions not to create any danger.
  3. The highest duty of care owed by a homeowner is to an invitee who is on the property for business purposes. A homeowner has a duty to warn invitees of a known danger but also to take reasonable measures to make sure the property is safe.

Liability of homeowners for injuries includes all kinds of possibilities. Swimming pools are often the cause of death to children when they are not properly fenced or otherwise guarded. There are many other conditions in a home which require care on the part of a homeowner, including stairways (sufficient lighting, anti-slip surfaces and handrails) and glass doors (visible markings), among others.

Ted Babbitt

Babbitt and Johnson, P.A.


Disclaimer: The above description provides a brief overview of the terms and phrases used within the insurance industry. These definitions are not applicable in all states or for all insurance and financial products. This is not an insurance contract. Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Please read your official policy for full details about coverages. These definitions do not alter or modify the terms of any insurance contract. If there is any conflict between these definitions and the provisions of the applicable insurance policy, the terms of the policy control.

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