What is the difference between an invitee and a licensee in a premises liability case in California?

property premises liability invitee licensee man person walking up stairs

In California, property owners can be held liable for accidents and injuries that occur on their premises due to premises liability laws. Premises liability laws stipulate that property owners owe certain visitors a legal duty of care. Ultimately, this means that the property owner must maintain a safe environment for visitors that enter the premises to ensure safety and prevent injuries. Visitors may sustain catastrophic injuries due to a property owner’s negligence. However, certain classifications limit what type of visitor can hold a property owner liable for their damages. In the unfortunate event that you or someone you love has been injured on someone else’s property, contact a trusted Santa Clara County Slip And Fall Accident Attorney who can help you seek monetary compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. In addition, please continue reading to learn what degree of duty property owners owe certain types of visitors.

What makes an invitee different from a licensee in a premises liability case in California?

When it comes to premises liability claims, victims are required to fulfill the burden of proof. This means they must prove their injuries were caused by a property owner’s negligence. Essentially, they must prove a property owner knew or should have reasonably known about the hazardous conditions on their premises and failed to remedy the conditions which resulted in injury. However, to determine what degree of duty a property owner owes, visitors are classified as follows:

  • Invitee. Typically, invitees enter a property for business or commercial purposes. These individuals have explicit permission from the property owner to be on a property. Invitees may include individuals shopping at a supermarket.
  • Licensee. Typically, licensees enter the property for social purposes. These individuals have implied permission from property owners to be on a property. This means they have limited consent when it comes to entering the property. Licensees are often invited onto the premises by an invitee. For instance, an invitee may invite a licensee to a property for a birthday party.
  • Trespasser. A trespasser is a person that does not have permission or consent from a property owner to enter their premises.

Invitees and licensees are both lawfully permitted to enter a property, however, invitees are owed a higher degree of duty as they have explicit consent from a property owner to be on a property. Invitees and licensees can file a premises liability claim against a negligent property owner. However, individuals who are classified as trespassers are not owed a standard duty of care by property owners. Nonetheless, there are exceptions to when a trespasser can hold a property owner accountable for their damages. Under certain circumstances such as a property owner did not have the proper displays warning individuals on the premises of hazardous conditions or deliberately injured a trespasser they may be held responsible for damages.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of a property owner, reach out to one of our experienced and determined attorneys. Allow our firm to represent your interests in court to help you achieve favorable results.