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A property owner’s obligation to people that enter their property is set forth under premises liability law. In general, an owner is required to maintain the property in a condition that protects others from injury.

That duty obligates property owners to check their property to ensure that they are aware of issues, make repairs as necessary, and warn guests of defects when repairs have not yet occurred. When a guest is injured as a result of a property owner’s action or lack of action in maintaining the property, the injured victim may have the right to recover.

If you suffered an injury because of a property owner’s negligence in Greenville, contact a local premises liability attorney for assistance. A compassionate Greenville premises liability lawyer can help you pursue damages.

North Carolina Premises Liability Law

Property owners and residents that exercise control over property have an obligation to anticipate, discover, and repair defects in the property. If the property is not made safe for people to enter, the property owner, in most cases, is liable for injuries resulting from the defect.

Landowners have a duty to make reasonable inspections of their property and to take reasonable steps to avoid someone else being injured on the land because of the dangerous condition or defect that they are or should be aware of. When the condition cannot be repaired immediately, land and property owners have a duty to warn guests of the defect.

Visitor Classification

The actual duty that a property owner has to people entering their property is dependent on the classification of the injured person in a Greenville premises liability claim.  An injured person is either a person that is lawfully present or a trespasser. The highest duty is extended to the person entering lawfully.

A person entering a retail establishment that is open to the public is entering lawfully when they enter during business hours. The store has a duty to ensure that the facility is safe for that person to enter.

A postal carrier delivering mail to a residential property owner’s home also has a lawful right to enter, in most cases, so the property owner has a duty to ensure the carrier can deliver their mail safely.

Trespassers

There is not a general duty to maintain property for trespassers, which includes anyone that enters the property without permission or a right to enter. While the distinction between trespasser and lawful entrants may seem simple, it can become complicated.

Having a lawful right to enter does not mean a lawful right to enter every area of the property. A shopper entering an “employees only” section of a retail store could be deemed a trespasser since their right to enter does not extend to areas that are not open to the public. Further, when a mailbox is in the front of the home, a postal worker that is injured behind the home may be deemed a trespasser since they are not invited to explore the grounds.

Being injured on someone else’s property is not an inherent right to recover for any injuries suffered. How the individual entered the property, the victim’s location at the time of the injury, and visible or verbal warnings of the defect all impact the ability to recover. Moreover, who is responsible for the injury can get complex, especially when the property where the injury occurred is leased. Greenville premises liability lawyers are essential help in this determination of responsibility.

How a Greenville Premises Liability Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in Greenville, NC because a property owner or non-owner resident failed to maintain a safe environment, contact an experienced Greenville premises liability attorney today.