Owners of properties where an injury occurs can get sued by the injured person; this is based on the idea that the owner of the property has an obligation to keep a certain standard of care and safety for visitors. When the owner’s action fall below that standard of care, then he or she will be found to have breached that duty.
The standard of care that an owner must uphold varies from state to state. In most cases, the owner is required merely to act as a reasonable, prudent person. However, some states also take into account the status of the visitor. For instance, a guest must be treated with a higher level of care than a random trespasser. When inviting guests, the owner has a duty to warn them of any hidden dangers or hazards that may cause accidents.
Business customers or individuals visiting public places such as museums or libraries, simply put any, establishment that welcomes customers or visitors must maintain a high standard of care for their visitors. In addition to warning about any potential hazards that could cause accidents, the owner has a duty to make reasonable inspections to discover dangerous conditions, and then take steps to remedy the problem to protect the customers.
A landowner cannot be sued by an undiscovered trespasser. However, if a landowner should be able to reasonably anticipate that trespassers will enter his property, such as when a property is left alone for long periods of time, then he has a duty to warn against any hidden artificial conditions that might cause injuries or death.
There is also a special standard of care owed to children who will trespass into the premises of others without permission or invitation. The owner of the premise has an obligation to exercise reasonable steps to prevent accidents befalling on children and protect them from foreseeable risks of harm caused by artificial conditions within the property. In the law, this rule is known as the attractive nuisance doctrine.