Who Does Premises Liability Protect?

Reynolds and Reynolds Law Firm
premises liabilityPremises liability is a complicated concept. Mainly because various factors affect the way it is applied if a person is injured on your property. One of those factors is which of the following categories the injured party falls. Are they an invitee, licensee, or trespasser?

Invitees and Premises Liability 

The first thing to cover are people that fall into the invitee category. An invitee is someone who a premises owner or occupier invites (expressly or implied) onto the premises. A few examples are friends you have over to watch the Cowboys game, hotel guests, apartment residents, their guests, or customers shopping in a store.


The general rule of thumb is, if a hazard the property owner knew or should have known about injures an invitee, the property owner/occupier is liable. When considering if a property owner should have known about a hazard, the court would need to determine that they acted in reasonable care to keep the property safe. However, the main exception to this rule is if the invitee knew about the hazard. For example, if a homeowner has a guest over and warns them, “The dog is not friendly, do not go in the backyard,” they would not be liable if that guest disregards the warning and goes into the yard and the dog bites them. 


Licensees and Premises Liability

A licensee is a person who is allowed to be on the premises but was not invited to the property by the owner. A city employee fixing a water line that runs through someone’s property would be considered a licensee. 


The premises owner is liable to a licensee injured by a hazard on the property only if the owner knows or should know of the hazard. The owner is also responsible for failing to exercise reasonable care to make the conditions safe or to warn the licensee of the danger and risk involved. However, if there is a reasonable expectation that the licensee should have discovered the hazard themselves, the owner is not liable. Using the same dog example, if a licensee saw your dog in the backyard and walked up to pet it, despite the “beware of dog” sign, you would not be liable if it bit them. 


Since the licensee’s presence on the premises generally does not directly benefit the owner, the licensee has a higher standard to meet to claim damages than an invitee.

Trespassers and Premises Liability


Simply put, a trespasser is any person who does not have legal permission to be on the premises. An easy example would be if someone broke into your home and slipped on some water in the kitchen. If this happened in your home, you would not be liable for their injuries. However, there are some exceptions. 


If you were to set up booby traps in your home with the willful intent to wound or kill trespassers, you would be liable. In general, deadly force is only permissible if you have a reasonable belief that the trespasser means you harm.


Frisco Personal Injury Lawyer


If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Frisco, TX, look no further than the personal injury attorneys at Reynolds & Reynolds. Our attorneys will bring their decades of experience with them to court when they fight for the compensation you deserve. Find us on social media to learn more about our services, or contact us at our Frisco personal injury attorney office today for your free consultation. And remember, you pay absolutely nothing unless we win.