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Do Premises Liability Laws Protect Guests At A House Party?


Summer barbecues on the patio deck at the house of a friend or business associate sound like so much fun until you arrive.  What could be better than sipping adult beverages by the pool and enjoying the peace and quiet while your husband offers the party host unsolicited advice about grilling methods and the children clobber each other with pool toys that cannot possibly cause injury?  Once you have gotten settled, though, you realize why you don’t do this more often.  People who own nice houses tend to lack a healthy dose of gratitude.  They kvetch about property taxes.  They bellyache about the price of groceries.  They humblebrag about the cost of the renovations that made possible this social gathering that, if not for all of the financial doomsaying, could be quite pleasant.  If they think fixing up your house to make it safe for guests is expensive, they should try hosting a party where someone gets injured in a preventable accident.  A Columbia premises liability lawyer can help you if you got injured at a party at someone’s house.

Why Are Party Guests Licensees Instead of Invitees?

Premises liability laws protect most people who suffer accidental injuries on someone else’s property.  In a premises liability case, the injured person can file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner, much like how people who get injured in car accidents can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault driver.  The law holds that property owners have a duty of care toward visitors, which means that they have a legal responsibility not to expose visitors to the risk of injury.

How much effort the property owner must put into protecting visitors from injury varies according to the relationship between the property owner and the visitor.  Property owners owe the greatest duty to invitees.  The law defines invitees as people who visit the property for the property owner’s benefit; therefore, shoppers at a store, guests at a hotel, and customers at a restaurant are invitees.  The property owner must continually monitor the premises for hazards and remove the hazards as they appear, before anyone gets hurt.

Licensees are visitors who visit the premises for their own benefit.  The commonly cited example of a licensee is a traveling salesperson, but guests at a house party also fit the legal definition of licensees.  The logic is that, at a party, the guests get free food and drinks, so they are the ones benefiting from their presence on the premises.  The law requires property owners to warn licensees about known hazards but not to fix them just to protect the licensee.

Let Us Help You Today

The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you file a premises liability claim if you got injured in a preventable accident while visiting someone else’s house.  Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.


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