Originally, California law held landlords and property owners to a different standard based on the reason why an injured individual entered the defendant’s property. There were three types of categories for visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Traditionally, trespassers were not protected under premises liability law. But in 1958, the California Supreme Court entitled Rowland v. Christian, which abolished the significance of legal distinctions in determining whether one could hold a property owner liable for an injury.
Under current California law, a property owner owes a duty of reasonable care to all people who enter the premises, regardless of status. Failure to maintain reasonable care may result in liability if a person who enters the land suffers an injury, whether the common law would have considered that person an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. However, an injured person’s status may still be relevant to determine whether or not the defendant acted with reasonable care.
Premises liability claims are highly fact-specific, involving substantial legal analysis. If you were injured on someone else’s property, no matter what your status was at the time the injury occurred, it is imperative to obtain legal counsel from an experienced attorney.