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Home premises liability claimants in the District of Columbia

Premises liability claims can be very complex legal claims in which the complainant must establish the negligence of the defendant. Despite the complexity of these cases, people who have been injured on another person's property might be able to successfully win compensation.

In the District of Columbia, there are three types of complainants for premises liability claims against homeowners. The status of the complainant depends on why the complainant was on the property.

If the person wasn't invited onto the property and had no lawful right to be there, the person is considered a trespasser, according to FindLaw. Surprisingly enough, it is possible for trespassers to seek compensation from homeowners if they are hurt on the premises in certain situations.

A person who is allowed to be on the premises, but isn't there to fulfill a contractual obligation to the homeowner, is considered a licensee. These can be friends, social guests, family members and neighbors. Licensees can seek compensation from homeowners under certain conditions.

The third type of complainant in a premises liability claim against a homeowner is an invitee. Contractors are an example of an invitee. When invitees are on the premises, a homeowner has a duty to keep the premises safe through ordinary care.

For most premises liability claims in D.C., there aren't any distinctions made between licensees and invitees. There are, however, distinctions made for trespassers. In the case of a trespasser, it would take something akin to a willful act of injury, such as a hidden trap, for a premises liability claim to be made.

After the status of the complainant is determined, it is usually possible to move forward with determining the strength of the case. It is important to gather all pertinent details to determine how to proceed.

Source:  The Catholic University of America, "Summary of District of Columbia Laws" Jul. 25, 2014

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