Premises Liability: An Invitee, a Licensee, and a Trespasser

Are You an Invitee, a Licensee or a Trespasser in Premises Liability? | McKay Law

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Are You an Invitee, a Licensee, or a Trespasser in Premises Liability?

Civil common law controls tort law. This means that there are no laws that offer attorneys a clear-cut description to apply to particular circumstances, and then presto! they’re done. Instead, to establish another party’s negligence or liability, attorneys must conduct in-depth investigations and analyses of earlier court rulings and witness testimony.

In short, a premises liability lawyer must know the jurisprudence or case law in order to properly evaluate your case and prepare it for trial or for maximum negotiation leverage in a settlement.

Due to the difficulty in proving the four factors that make a property owner accountable, premises liability lawsuits, or instances in which the plaintiff was hurt on the defendant’s property, focus on the root of the law’s ambiguity.

Do You Have a Case for Premises Liability?

The frustrating aspect of applying legal provisions that can be interpreted in myriad different ways for premises liability cases lies on the shoulders of the attorneys. Determining what is “foreseeable” and what is “fair” to anticipate is one of these flexible criteria.

When two parties have divergent interests, it makes sense that they would dispute. The four components that must be shown in a premises liability lawsuit are as follows:

  • The premise’s condition presented an improbable chance of harm.
  • The defendant was aware or should have been aware of the danger the condition created.
  • The defendant went above the call of duty in both
  • Not sufficiently informing the plaintiff of the condition
  • Neglecting to reasonably secure the situation
  • The plaintiff’s harm was roughly caused by the defendant’s breach.

The majority of property owners will never realize that they had any ability to reasonably know how a condition on their land might constitute a risk of harm to anyone. And they won’t even acknowledge that there was any chance that an injury would occur.

However, a plaintiff will always be certain that their injuries were caused by a dangerous situation and not by negligence. So how do we determine the extent of the controller or premises owner’s liability?

First, the purpose of the plaintiff’s visit to the property must be established. The degree of the defendant’s liability will be established by this. How responsible someone is if you are injured depends on your purpose for being there.

The visitor may be an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser, among other statuses. Each assesses the extent of the property owner’s responsibility for the injuries. 

Are You Trespassing, a Licensee, or an Invitee?


You could presume right away that this refers to a person who has been “invited” to a place, similar to a social guest. But in this case, the invitation is implied in a business transaction. An invitee enters a property with permission from the owner (or controllers) and for both parties’ gain.

The majority of the time, an inviter/invitee relationship exists if you suffer a slip and fall injury at a restaurant, shop, or hotel. The invitee is owed the utmost degree of care by the property owner.

The invitee is entitled to protection from reasonable hazards that the property owner is aware of and predictable risks that would be discovered following a reasonable inspection.


The social guest is a licensee. someone who has been granted permission to visit and/or stay on a property for purposes unrelated to business or commerce. The invitation may be made explicitly or inferred.

For example, if you are a licensee who was hurt on a homeowner’s property, you must establish three elements before the defendant is accountable and must pay you compensation:

  • The property owner was aware of a risk or condition that would affect the licensee and that the licensee would not likely have a way to become aware of.
  • The licensor neglected to either make the situation safe or alert the licensee to it.
  • The licensee was unaware of the risk associated with the disease or had no cause to be aware that it existed.


The trespasser owes the property owner the least degree of responsibility. A trespasser is someone who enters or stays on private property without the owner’s permission, whether they are aware of it or not.

There is no obligation on the part of the property owner to the trespasser if they are unaware of the trespasser’s entry onto their land. The owner is required to warn of any unnatural dangers if they are aware of the trespasser’s entrance.

For instance, there may be notices regarding bear traps on the property put in a location that is maybe close to a hiking trail.

Are You an Invitee, a Licensee or a Trespasser in Premises Liability? | McKay Law

How Status Can Alter if Original Intention Is Modified

when a customer walks out of a store without making a purchase only to trip and fall in front of the store. Is this individual a guest? In a scenario where there was no mutual gain, does the store owner have any obligations?

This is where the visitor’s status might be complicated and affect how much obligation the property owner owes the harmed party. 

Therefore, the visitor’s standing is determined by their motivation and aim. Cases and case law become murky and complex at this point. Defendants will make a lot of effort to lower your standing so they can demonstrate that their obligation is limited.

Texas Premises Liability

Texas is renowned for being conservative and for supporting large corporations. The Texas Supreme Court is well known for maintaining that property owners are not at fault, leaving injured plaintiffs without compensation for injuries they sustained on the property of large corporations.

These instances can be challenging because large corporations are aware of their advantage and don’t need to worry too much about them.

You require a qualified attorney to prepare your case and advocate on your behalf who is able to investigate every tactic the defendant will employ to show that you are incorrect and deny the compensation you deserve.

For premises liability disputes, McKay Law is the law firm you should think of, especially if you live in East Texas. Call us if you believe you have a premises liability case, and we’ll explain all of your options to you. Licensee, or a Trespasser?

Do you believe you have a premises liability case? Contact Lindsey McKay at (903) INJURED, (903) 999-2653 to receive a free confidential case review today.

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