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What duty of care do you owe to visitors?

As a homeowner in Clinton, you invite people onto your property all the time. You might also own other private or commercial property on to which people may venture. It is assumed that you have a responsibility to take of those that come on to your property, yet what exactly are those responsibilities, and to whom do you actually owe them? 

The website for The New Jersey Courts shows that the state recognizes three distinct classes of visitors to your property: invitees, licensees and trespassers. Invitees are those that you invite on to your property (e.g. guests in your home, customers or clients in your place of business). Licensees are people whose work may require entrance on to your property (e.g. mail carriers, utility workers). In the case of both invitees and licensees, you must either correct any hazards on your property that could cause them harm, or at least warn them of their presence. This includes hazards that you know about or you should reasonably know about. For example, you may not know that your front steps have iced over, yet if it has been snowing recently, then is expected that you would have checked to see if they had. 

The state recognizes two different types of trespassers: adult and infant. The only duty of care you owe to adult trespassers is to not intentionally harm them. With infants, however, you have to ensure that they are protected from any artificial conditions that you maintain on your property (e.g. a swimming pool, an abandoned structure or a commercial workshop). This responsibility comes from the assumption that infants do not understand the dangers that such conditions pose, yet that their presence is enticing enough that kids will naturally be drawn to them. 

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