June 29, 2017
It is general knowledge that landowners are somewhat responsible for injuries to others while they are on the landowner’s property. However, if the injured individual is considered a trespasser, they will be barred from recovery if their claim is that the landowner’s negligence was the cause of their injury. This creates a dilemma for people who were injured on land which they did not receive an express invitation to, like a delivery man or landscaper leaving advertising flyers on homeowner’s doorsteps.
Fortunately, in North Carolina landowners are presumed to have an open invitation to individuals to enter their land for a common purpose, giving the example delivery man or landscaper what is called an implied license to enter the property. Individuals with an implied license are not considered trespassers. The only way for the landowner to block implied licensees is to take measures expressing their unwillingness to admit such people from their property. This can be done through visible and unambiguous no trespassing or no soliciting signs, putting people on notice that they are not allowed on the landowner’s property.
Additionally, land owners might still be able to consider people on their land for a limited purpose trespassers if when on their land, they act outside that purpose. For instance, if the delivery man in the above example were to decide to use a swing-set in the backyard of the landowner’s property and injure himself, he would have acted outside his limited license to enter the property and could be barred from recovery.
Bottom line: if you are a limited licensee, make sure to only act within the purpose for which you are allowed on the property. If you are a landowner trying to escape liability from limited licensee’s injuries on your property, a clear and visible no trespassing sign could help protect you from a negligence claim.