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What is involved in a premises liability case?

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Posted on February 3, 2020

If you have ever been on someone else’s property and fallen, one of the questions the court may ask you is why you on that property. The reason they want to know is because your legal status or your legal relationship changes depending upon what your purpose was on the property.

According to the Florida Bar Journal, there are three terms that describe the different statuses involved in a premises liability action. Those are invitee, licensee and trespasser. An invitee is someone who is on someone else’s property, conferring economic benefits on that person. For example, any time you go to subway or Taco Bell, you are an invitee on that property owner’s land. Because you are an invitee, they owe you the highest level of care. What does that mean? Well, the highest level of care means that the possessor of that property has a duty to inspect the premises and maintain them. They have a duty to warn you of hidden dangers, and they have a duty to make the premises safe.

If you are on someone else’s property as a licensee, then you are a social visitor. That means that the person who owns the property has a little bit less of a duty towards you. Their duty is to warn you of a hidden danger that the possessor of land knows about or should know about and which they reasonably believe you will not discover on your own.

Generally, an owner of land owes no duty to a trespasser. However, that changes a little bit if you are doing something willful or malicious to hurt the trespasser.