The answer to this question is largely determined by the status of the person entering the property. In Minnesota, if you are entering another person’s property as a trespasser, the owner of that property generally does not have a duty to that trespasser unless the possessor of the land knows or has reason to know that trespassers regularly use certain portions of the premises. These cases generally involve artificial conditions on the premises that the possessor of the land knows about or has created, and believes the trespasser will not discover.
In addition, if the trespasser is a child a landowner may have a duty to reconfigure land, rather than simply warn children about potential danger.
If a person enters another persons ‘or entities’ property as a social guest or business invitee, the landowner owes a duty of reasonable care existing circumstances to such persons. What is reasonable care under the circumstances is oftentimes a question for a jury.
Other types of premise type liability claims may involve the malfunction of elevators, escalators or automatic doors. In general, an owner of an elevator or escalator must exercise the degree of care that is customarily described as a “high degree of foresight to identify possible dangers and a high degree of prudence to guard against them.” The owners of automatic doors must exercise reasonable care in maintaining proper operation. In addition, product liability claims may also arise in such instances.
Another injury typically sustained in Minnesota occurs from slipping and falling on an accumulation of ice. Generally, a possessor of land has a duty to use reasonable care to protect an entrant from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a condition on the premises while he is on the premises. Such factors in considering reasonable care of the landowner are:
- The purpose for which the entrant entered the premises;
- The circumstances the entrant entered the premises;
- The use to which the premises is put or expected to be put;
- The foreseeability of possible harm;
- The reasonableness of the inspection, repair or warning;
- The opportunity and ease of repair or the giving of the warning.