Slip and Fall Liability: Do You Owe a Duty to Protect Trespassers to Land?
Hello, let’s start with some basics: what’s a premise? A premise is any piece of land or property: a business, your home on a Sunday night for a party, the local park down the street, your school, etc. Landowners owe a duty to the people that enter their land. Depending on the type of land occupant, there are different duties owed:
Today we are talking about trespassers — a person that intentionally enters somebody else’s land. There are two different kinds of trespassers and the duty owed to them is different:
• An undiscovered trespasser: you owe this person no duty of care. The trespasser is deemed unforeseeable, and therefore you can’t manage your property with the expectation that the unexpected trespasser will enter your land without a right to be there. The undiscovered trespasser can walk on your land and slip and fall all he wants, but you aren’t liable for any of his injuries.
• An anticipated trespasser: this person you owe a greater duty of care. If you have a large structure that you know people are attracted to, even if they’re trespassing, then you need to protect these people if:
- The structure/condition is artificial (i.e. man-made)
- Is highly dangerous
- And is concealed
If you know about someone’s presence on your property, regardless of whether or not they should be there, then you should at least put up a warning sign. The police rationale is that we want land to be safe, and if someone knowingly creates a dangerous risk, then at the very least that person should warn others that might come into contact with that risk.
Goodwin & Scieszka has been handling Michigan slip and fall causes of action for over 30 years. If you’ve been injured in Detroit or Metro Detroit, our Southfield, Michigan person injury firm is here for you.