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What's my legal duty as a property owner to prevent injury?

Property ownership is a right that is well protected under the laws of Connecticut. But with the right comes a certain level of responsibility which is also spelled out under the law.

Of course, the specific provisions in this regard differ depending on what state you happen to be in. If you have been injured due to a hazard or defect in maintenance on someone else's property, you have a right to seek compensation for your pain, suffering and financial damages.

If you happen to be the owner of a property, it might be a good idea for you to consult with an attorney, too, to be sure that you are doing all you can to limit your liability against possible claims for personal injury.

The degree of duty of care you owe to someone who may access your property typically depends on the nature of the other individual.

An owner tends to owe the highest level of care to someone who is invited onto a property for social or business reasons. Any invitee has a right to expect that an owner will take all reasonable steps to keep a property inspected and safe, with "reasonable" being defined as anything that a person of ordinary intelligence or judgment would do. If a claim were to go to trial, the determination of reasonable would be up to a jury.

If you license access to your property you owe it to your licensee to be sure he or she is protected from any known property hazards. Liability might not extend, though, for unknown dangers that might exist.

Trespassers are another category of visitor. For the most part, the law allows that someone on a property without authorization has no expectation of a duty of care. However, if a property owner is aware of, or should anticipate, frequent trespassing; a duty of reasonable warning about hazardous conditions might be required.

That duty of care steps up if conditions are such that they might attract children trespassers onto the property and into danger.

Being aware of rights and responsibilities is crucial and the way to achieve awareness is by speaking with qualified legal counsel.

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