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What is the difference between invitees and licensees in a premises liability case?

premises liability invitees licensees property injured person

In Maryland, premises liability laws stipulate that property owners legally owe certain patrons and guests that enter their property a standard duty of care. Essentially, this means that a property owner is legally required to maintain safe premises for their guests. Property owners must remedy any hazardous conditions promptly to prevent injuries. Unfortunately, a person may sustain an injury as a direct result of a property owner’s negligence. Victims are entitled to file a claim against a negligent property owner as they failed to exercise their legal duty. However, there are certain restrictions when it comes to a property owner’s liability. Property owners owe only certain types of guests a legal duty of care. If you have been injured due to the negligent actions of a property owner, contact one of our experienced Prince George’s County Slip & Fall Attorneys who can help you determine what degree of duty a property owner owes you to recover monetary compensation for your damages.

What makes invitees different from licensees in a premises liability case?

When evaluating the degree of duty a property owner owes a guest, the law categorizes guests into different classifications. Guests are classified as follows:

  • Invitees. An invitee is an individual who has explicit permission from a property owner to be on the premises. Essentially, they have been invited by the property owner for business or commercial purposes. For instance, an invitee may be an individual who is shopping at a grocery store.
  • Licensees. A licensee is an individual that has implied permission from a property owner to be on the premises. Typically, licensees are invited onto a property by an invitee for social purposes. For instance, a licensee could be an individual who was invited to a home or apartment for a dinner party.
  • Trespassers. A trespasser is an individual that enters a property without permission or consent from the property owner. Property owners are typically unaware of trespassers’ presence on the property.

Legally, both invitees and licensees are allowed to be on the premises as they have permission from the property owner. Due to tort laws, both types of guests are legally entitled to file a claim against a negligent property owner for their damages. However, invitees are owed the highest degree of duty as they were explicitly invited onto the property. This means property owners are expected to maintain safe premises for invitees to ensure their safety. Additionally, property owners owe licensees a duty as they must inform licensees of any dangerous conditions on the property to prevent injuries. Property owners do not owe trespassers a degree of duty because they did not have consent from the property owner to be on the premises. However, if a property owner willfully injures a trespasser or did not have the proper warning signs displayed on their property they may be responsible for their damages. Ultimately, property owners owe both invitees and licensees a legal duty of care.

In the unfortunate event that you or someone you love has been injured on another person’s property due to negligence, reach out to one of our skilled and determined attorneys. Our firm is committed to helping our clients prove their injuries were a direct result of a property owner’s breach of duty of care. Allow our firm to represent your interests today!

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