Premises Liability Law & Legal Definition


The owner is not the insurer of the safety of persons on the premises. The duty of care owed by the owner may vary depending on whether the person injured on the premises was an invitee, guest or trespasser. However, some jurisdictions have adopted the rule that an owner or occupier of land is held to a duty of reasonable care under all the circumstances.

The owner or person in possession at the time of the incident is generally liabile for injury suffered while on the premises. A person creating a condition causing the injury, while acting under direction of the owner or possessor, may also be liable. A property owner is generally liable for dangerous conditions on the property, such as dead trees overhanging a walkway, negligently maintained stores, parking lots, stairways and driveways.

The duties of a premises owner are typically nondelegable. If the owner remains in possession, the owner cannot escape responsibility merely because he contracted with a company to provide maintenance. For example, a business remains liable for the condition of its parking lot, even if it has hired a landscaping company to maintain the parking lot and to remove snow and ice. A landlord remains liable for the condition of the housing it owns, even if it has contracted with a management company to provide all service and maintenance in relation to the housing.