Do Warning Signs Matter in Premises Liability Cases?
When an injured person is trying to show that a property owner is at fault for their accident on the property, such as for a slip and fall accident in a grocery store, one of the issues that can come up is whether or not there were appropriate warning signs. When does a property owner need to put up signs to meet their duty of care to other people? When do signs not matter? Let’s take a look at the three main groups of people involved in premises liability cases:
- Invitees: patrons at a store
- Licensees: a guest invited by a homeowner
- Trespassers: someone illegally present on the land
In cases that involve invitees, warning signs can play a major part in meeting the standard of care. If there is an unexpected threshold to cross, or a long-standing puddle, a store owner has the duty to make sure that these are dealt with, or at the very least, clear signs are put up. If the signs are barely noticeable, they do not count. But if the signs are very noticeable, then a patron probably cannot sue if they are injured in spite of the warnings. The property owner has met his or her duty of care and cannot be considered negligent.
Licensees are owed warnings if there are hazards that they would not be aware of otherwise. If the licensee has this warning but gets injured anyway, then the property owner is probably off the hook because he or she gave the warning.
As for trespassers, warning signs should not matter. Property owners owe no duty of care to people who are unlawfully on their property, only they cannot purposefully inflict injury without reason.
To learn more about premises liability claims, or to see if you can file one, do not hesitate to call the Whitley Law Firm right away! An experienced Raleigh personal injury lawyer from the team can discuss your case with you for free.