Are you an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser?

Almost any Tennessee personal injury attorney would tell you that being seriously harmed in someone else’s property in Tennessee may also require you to deal with long recovery periods, huge hospital bills, lost time at work, and debilitating injuries that might compromise your quality of life. Unfortunately, each year, many injurious, sometimes even fatal incidents happen inside establishments where owners fail to ensure that occupants and visitors are safe.

Premise owners have a duty to keep their premises free from any hazard that may cause injurious accidents. However, if you have been injured in someone else’s property, the degree to which an owner owes duty to you depends largely on your status. Here are the three different classifications of occupiers, and how they are different from each other.

  1. Invitee – An invitee is a person who is allowed to enter the property. In most cases, invitees are people who come to the property to provide the owner with some benefits. For instance, you are probably an invitee if your neighbor asks you to enter her house to teach her a new recipe. You are also an invitee if you enter a store as a shopper, or a restaurant as a diner.
  2. Licensee – A licensee is a person allowed to enter a property, usually for their own purpose. Typically, property owner owes a licensee lesser duty of care than an invitee. Some examples of licensees include salesmen, social guests, or those who have an open invitation to enter the property.
  3. Trespasser – A trespasser is anyone who doesn’t meet any of the criteria above. Usually, an owner doesn’t owe duty of reasonable care to trespassers. However, in cases wherein a trespasser is a child who have been attracted to an accessible condition of danger, such as swimming pools, the property owner could be held liable in failing to secure his/her property.