Premise Liability in the Carolinas Discussed in Simpson v. Colonial Parking, Inc.

When we go through our daily lives the law has designated liability standard in every realm to protect us in cases of negligence. If you have suffered an injury in the Carolina’s because of the negligence of someone else, know your rights.

Our experienced North Carolina injury attorneys know what it takes to get you the award you are entitled to.
no entry.jpg
This case arose when Plaintiff was riding his bicycle in Delaware. He saw a short cut through a parking lot that was un-gated and went through the defendant’s parking lot. Upon doing this he rode his bike through a large pothole causing him to sustain minor personal injuries. Plaintiff says he did not notice the traffic cone which marked this pothole.

Plaintiff then sued the owners of parking (“Colonial”) lot claiming that he was a licensee and Colonial breached their duty by failing to maintain the premises.

The law is very specific in the realm of premise liability. It provides for three distinct classifications for entrants onto property. There are licensee, invitee and trespassers. Depending on the category, the law assigns property owners a duty of care to those individuals. Each state has different law surrounding this issue, although the definitions are very similar.

A licensee was invited onto the property by the defendant or given implied consent for a non-commercial purpose. An invitee is usually an entrant that is invited onto the premises for commercial purposes because the commercial nature of the land. And a trespasser is an entrant that is not invited onto the land by the landowner and is also not performing any services related to the premises or the landowner.

In Simpson v. Colonial Parking, Inc., the court deciphers between licensees or trespassers and the duties owed to each. The plaintiff contends that he is a licensee as he was given implied consent to enter the land because the parking lot was not gated. Because of this contention, plaintiff claims that the landowner should be held liable to plaintiff because defendant knew of the dangerous condition that could cause harm to the plaintiff, defendant failed to make the condition safe or warn plaintiff of the risk involved.

Defendant argues that the plaintiff was a trespasser because not allowed to be in the parking lot, as he was not given any permission to enter. Because of this classification as a trespasser, the only duty defendants would have had was to refrain from willful and wonton conduct.

The plaintiff in this case has the burden of proving his entrant status. In order for the plaintiff to prove that he was a licensee he had to prove that Colonial gave plaintiff their implied consent or privilege to enter and use the parking lot.

Because the plaintiff in Simpson did not prove that he was given any privilege to enter the parking lot, the court found that he was a trespasser. Plaintiff was a trespasser thus the only duty owed to him by the defendants was to refrain from willful or wonton conduct. The plaintiff then had to prove that the defendants did act in this regard, which he was unable to do.

Therefore, the court in this case granted Colonial summary judgment because plaintiff could not prove his contentions. There was no duty fund to be owed by this landowner to this trespasser. Because of this, the court here held that because the plaintiff was trespassing and was then injured on the land of another he was not entitled to recovery.

If you have been injured because of the negligent maintenance of the land of another, know your rights.

If you have been injured contact North Carolina injury attorneys at Lee Law Offices to schedule a free appointment today. Call 800-887-1965.

Contact Information