Who is Liable For An Injury On Private Property?

October 1, 2020

Most people understand that commercial property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of their premises. Anytime commercial property owners are negligent in their duties, and those on the premises sustain an injury, they could be held liable through a premises liability lawsuit. However, what happens if you are injured while you were on private property? Can they also be held liable for injuries to their guests?

Liability in Commercial Properties

Business owners are held at a higher standard of care when it comes to maintaining a safe environment for patrons. They must keep their property in a reasonably safe condition in order to prevent any injuries to customers. This includes taking measures to have adequate security, preventing slippery floors, properly inspecting and maintaining escalators and elevators, taking steps to ensure pools are safe, and more.

Liability in Residential Properties

Most people do not realize that private property owners, including those who own residential properties, also have responsibilities when it comes to keeping those on their property safe. In these cases, we will look at the status of the individuals at the time an injury occurs, because this status determines the level of liability of the residential property owner.


An invitee is going to be any person on a private residential property that is present for business purposes. An invitee is going to require the highest level of protection from the property owner. Private residential owners are obligated to take steps to ensure their property is entirely safe for any invitee. This includes taking proactive steps to provide a safe area for the invitee, such as including inspecting the premises for any dangers, putting up warning signs for known hazards, and more.


A licensee is a person that is permitted to be on the property but is not there for business purposes. It is up to private residential owners to warn licensees (to include social guests) of any dangerous conditions on the property. When a property owner provides an adequate warning, they would typically be free from any liability for injuries that occur. However, private residential owners are not required to warn licensees about dangerous conditions that are obvious to those present.


In general, trespassers are going to be people not permitted on the property, and property owners will not be held liable for injuries that trespassers sustain. However, property owners cannot be involved in any willful conduct intended to injure trespassers on their property. That being the case, property owners have no responsibility to protect the safety of trespassers. If there are specific hazards on the property that could pose threats to anyone (including trespassers), property owners must put up a sign warning of this hazard.

Landlords May Be At Fault

In general, a landlord will not be responsible for injuries that occur to the lessee or any other individual while the property has been leased to somebody else. This rule has been established because landlords typically lack control of the premises while it is being leased. However, if the injury occurs on common property that the landlord does have access to, or if the landlord is contractually obligated to remedy problems within a certain timeframe but fails to do so, the landlord could be held responsible.

Contact an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured while at a private residence, you should speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible. You should be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including coverage of medical bills, lost wages if you cannot work, any out-of-pocket expenses you incur, pain and suffering damages, and more. A Phoenix premises liability lawyer will be able to guide you through this process and ensure that your case is filed properly.

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