What is the difference between an invitee and a licensee in a premises liability case in Tennessee?

premises liability case man walking down stairs with bike

Sometimes an individual gets hurt through no fault of their own. In Tennessee, a property owner has a legal duty to maintain a safe environment for patrons and visitors. Essentially, they are required to remedy unsafe conditions to prevent injuries and ensure safety. Failure to use reasonable care to maintain safe premises can result in catastrophic injuries that cause both physical and mental trauma. Premises liability stipulates that individuals who are injured as a direct result of a property owner’s negligence are entitled to file a claim to recover monetary compensation for their damages. However, when it comes to a property owner’s liability, only certain types of visitors are owed a legal duty of care. In the unfortunate event that you or someone you love has been injured as a direct result of a property owner’s negligence, contact a trusted Memphis Premises Liability Lawyer who can help you determine what degree of duty a property owner owes you to file a premises liability claim. 

How are visitors classified in a premises liability case in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, under premises liability, property owners owe a legal duty of care to certain types of visitors. To assert the duty of care owed by a property owner, visitors are classified as follows:

  1. Invitee. An invitee is a person who has been invited onto a property by a property owner. They have explicit permission or consent to be on the premises. An example of an invitee is an individual that shops at the supermarket. Typically, invitees are invited onto a property for commercial or business purposes.
  2. Licensee. A licensee is a person who has expressly or implied permission from a property owner to be on the premises. An example of a licensee is a person who is invited to a house for a birthday party. Licensees are invited to enter the premises by invitees for social purposes. They usually enter a property for personal reasons or their benefit.
  3. Trespasser. A trespasser is a person who does not have permission from a property owner to be on the premises.

Property owners owe a standard duty of care to both invitees and licensees as they both have a form of consent to enter a property. However, invitees are owed a higher degree of duty than licensees. Property owners do not owe a trespasser a legal duty of care. However, if a property owner deliberately injures a trespasser or they neglect to display the proper warning signs to notify individuals on the property of dangerous conditions, they could be held liable for damages. Ultimately, property owners can be held accountable for an invitee or licensee’s damages if they can prove their premises liability claim. Essentially, they must prove the following:

  • The property owner owed them a standard duty of care.
  • The property owner should have known or reasonably known about unsafe conditions on the premises.
  • The property owner failed to remedy the unsafe condition which directly caused an individual’s injuries and damages.

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, reach out to one of our determined and adept team members who can help you file a premises liability claim against a negligent property owner to seek monetary compensation for your damages.