What is the difference between an invitee and a licensee in a premises liability case in D.C.?

Property owners owe a standard duty of care. Essentially, this means property owners have a legal duty to maintain a safe environment to prevent injuries for patrons and visitors that enter their property. Additionally, this means property owners must fix or remedy any hazardous conditions to maintain safe premises and ensure safety. If a property owner fails to uphold their duty, catastrophic injuries may occur as a direct result of their negligence. However, property owners owe a duty to only a certain classification of patrons and guests. If you or someone you care about has been injured due to the negligence of a property owner, contact a skilled Washington D.C. Slip & Fall Lawyer who can help you seek the justice you deserve. In addition, please continue reading to learn what degree of duty a property owner may owe you.

Is there a difference between an invitee and a licensee in a premises liability case in D.C.?

If a property owner breaches their legal duty to maintain safe premises, they could be held responsible for your damages. However, for a premises liability claim you must prove the property owner owed you a legal duty of care. To determine what degree of duty a property owner owes you, you must first understand the different classifications of visitors. Visitors are classified as follows:

  • Invitee. An invitee is a person who has explicit permission to be on a property. Essentially, they have been invited by the property owner for business or commercial purposes. As a result of having explicit permission to enter a property, invitees are owed the highest degree of duty.
  • Licensee. A licensee is a person who has implied or limited permission to enter a property. Typically, licensees enter a property for social purposes. Oftentimes, licensees are invited onto the premises by invitees. In addition to invitees, licensees are also owed a degree of duty by property owners.
  • Trespasser. A trespasser is a person who enters a property without permission. Trespassers do not have consent to be on a property which means property owners do not owe them a duty. However, a property owner cannot willfully or intentionally cause injury to a trespasser. If a property owner wantonly injures a trespasser they can be held liable for damages.

Ultimately, the law classifies guests as invitees, licensees, or trespassers. Depending on which classification you fall under, it reflects whether a property owner owes a legal duty of care. For premises liability cases, you must prove a property owner owed you a duty and breached that duty which resulted in your injuries and damages. If a property owner does not attend to dangerous conditions on a property it could lead to serious injuries.

If you have sustained injuries due to the negligence of a property owner, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our trusted and knowledgeable team members. Our firm can assist you in seeking financial compensation for your damages.