Landowners owe a duty not to injure a guest by active or affirmative negligence. This means that the landowner must warn a guest against, or remove or repair, defects that the landlord knows are likely to cause harm to the guest, and which would likely not be discovered by the guest. A landowner is not required, however, to warn against dangers which are so obvious that no warning is necessary.
Further, a landowner generally does not owe a duty to warn those endangered by the unlawful conduct of third parties on the property. A duty to warn others on the property may arise, however, if there is a special relationship between the landowner and the guest, and the landowner is aware that the third party presents a threat. If the landowner, however, has no knowledge that the third party poses a threat and there is no foreseeable risk, there is no duty to warn.
The possibility of a landowner's liability is further complicated by the status of the third party on the property. Trespassers often find themselves without legal recourse for any injuries because they lacked permission to even be present on the property in the first place. Social guests and guests for business purposes stand a much better chance of recovering on potential claims.
Cases involving landowner duties and premises liability are very fact-specific. The applicable laws also vary greatly by state. The experienced attorneys at WLG can review the particular facts in your situation and advise you whether you about any potential claims.