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Do property owners owe a duty of care to visitors?

| Aug 12, 2019 | Premises Liability/Slip And Fall

Whenever you enter on to another’s property in Covington, your likely expectation is that the property is responsible for your safety while you are there. Of course, you are still expected to exercise sound judgment and avoid any reckless behavior (as such negligence might absolve the property owner of liability even if you are injured while on their land). Yet generally speaking, it may be reasonable to expect that a property owner has prepared their land in such a way that it presents no danger to visitors. 

Is, however, that expectation correct? Under Kentucky law, property owners do indeed owe a duty of care to people who come on to their lands. That duty, however, varies according to the type of visitor that you are. Typically, visitors are grouped into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The easiest classification to which a duty is owed is that of a trespasser. In most cases, if you are a person’s land without their permission, the only duty they owe to you is to not purposely cause you harm. 

If you are licensee, then you may enter on to one’s property to perform work related to your business (e.g. postal work, landscaping). Property owners typically must protect licensees by keeping their lands clear of any hazards that might cause harm. 

The duty owed to you as an invitee has been clearly defined by the Supreme Court of Kentucky. Its rulings have stated that if a property owner has invited you on to their land, they must work to discover any potential dangers that might exist there and either eliminate them or warn you of their presence.