Who Is at Fault When a House Guest Gets Injured?

In a business or commercial setting, premises liability issues about visitors suffering injuries are common. But are you aware that private homeowners are also responsible for the safety of their house guests?

It’s the legal duty of a homeowner to safeguard their guests from injuries and other damages. If you or someone in your family was injured while visiting a family member, you may wonder if you can receive compensation. Your first course of action should be to consult specialised personal injury attorneys. In this article, we will look deeper into cases where a homeowner may be held accountable for injuries to social guests.

Understanding homeowners’ responsibilities to social guests

When it comes to premises liability law, visitors or guests of a homeowner are divided into three categories. The differentiation allows the law to determine the homeowner’s responsibilities further. The three types are invitees, trespassers, and licensees.

An invitee is a person who enters the property because the property owner expressly invited them to visit. In commercial establishments like hotels, motels, and lodges, business visitors are considered to be invitees. Conversely, persons who enter a property without the permission of the owner are deemed to be trespassers.

A licensee is a person who has been permitted by the homeowner to enter the premises for the owner’s convenience. Visitors or social guests who go to someone’s house for parties or vacations are considered licensees.

It’s worth noting that the homeowner has responsibilities towards safeguarding the guest from all possible threats that may be present at the premises.

Another thing that professional injury attorneys will tell you that a homeowner is only responsible for social guests’ injuries caused by negligence or wanton conduct. The homeowner is responsible for the injuries to a social guest caused by a condition on the property if:

  • the homeowner knew the condition or had the reason to know of it;
  • the homeowner should have recognised the risks the condition would pose;
  • the homeowner should have been aware that their guest would not know of the danger.

In the scenarios mentioned above, the homeowner is accountable for the injuries sustained by the guest. The homeowner is held liable as they failed to take reasonable care of the guest, make the premises safe, or warm them.

To put it in simple terms, whether you are visiting someone’s home for party or dinner, the host has to make you aware of any unsafe conditions in the premises that they are or should be aware of. If you met with an accident at someone’s house due to a non-obvious dangerous condition, you could file a claim for full compensation from the host.

Contributory Negligence in Social Guest Cases

In Virginia, the defense of contributory negligence can prevent you from recovering a full claim on your injury. In Virginia, the rule of pure contributory negligence applies to premises liability cases besides car accidents.

According to the contributory negligence rule, if the injured guest is proved to be responsible for the injuries in any way, they can’t claim for compensation.

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