The duty of a landowner to individuals on their property varies depending on the status of an individual who is on the property. Generally speaking, an individual who is invited onto a person's property is owed the highest duty of care. An invitee can expect that the landowner used reasonable care to make sure that the property may be expected to be user safe. However, if the invitee goes beyond the area of which he was invited, for instance, into an attic, when not invited to go there, the invitee changes his status to that of a trespasser . The trespasser is on the property without the consent of the owner and he is owed the least amount of care. The only duty owed to a trespasser is to refrain from willfully injuring or entrapping the trespasser. A trespasser takes the property as it exists but does not have to assume that there are unforeseeable or unknown traps on the land. A social guest is entitled the landowner's exercise of reasonable care to make the premises safe and to warn the guest of known dangerous conditions that could not ordinarily be discovered by the guest.
A landowner such as a supermarket must use reasonable care to monitor the safety of the premises. There must be sufficient evidence that the landowner had notice of a dangerous condition or defect in order to hold the landowner responsible for allowing that dangerous condition or defect to cause an injury. This is a frequently overlooked by individuals who call our office and may have slipped and fallen on a grape or state that they do not know what they slipped and fell on. It is the duty of the individual that slipped and the lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. to demonstrate that the landowner knew or should have known of the existence of this dangerous condition to have avoided or warned about it to eliminate the potential likelihood of an injury.