difference between licensee and invitee missouri

Our Arkansas and Missouri premises liability lawyers explain the difference between a licensee and an invitee.

Legal responsibility for a person’s injuries, when they are sustained on someone else’s property, usually falls on the property owner and/or occupier.

Property owners have certain duties and obligations to the individuals who are on their property, depending on the reason for the visit.

Generally, property owners do not owe any duty to trespassers.  However, if you have a legitimate reason to be on someone’s property, they can be held liable for your injuries.

If you are legitimately on the premises, then you are likely either a “licensee” or an “invitee.”

But, what is the difference between licensee and invitee?

What is a Licensee

Unlike a trespasser, both a licensee and an invitee have the permission of the property owner to be on the property.

The difference between licensee and invitee is that a licensee is there for her own amusement, whereas an invitee is usually there for the benefit of the property owner.

A licensee would be, for example, a guest at a party or a family friend who is visiting.

Although they have an invitation or permission to be on the premises, there is no direct benefit to the property owner.

A more uncommon example of a licensee could be a person who enters a store or business but is not there to shop.

Instead, he may just be asking for directions, or to use the restroom.  In that case, he would be considered a licensee instead of an invitee.

Invitee Definition

The definition of an invitee is someone invited onto the premises for the benefit of the property owner.

There are two types of invitees: a business invitee and a public invitee.

The distinction is really the type of property or the reason for the visit.

For instance, if you are at a store to buy merchandise being sold by the store, then you are clearly a business invitee.

If the property happens to be made available to the public, such as a park or library, then you would be considered a public invitee.

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What are the Different Duties Owed to Each?

The duty a property owner owes to someone visiting the property depends on the classification of the visitor.

Generally speaking, property owners have a duty to take reasonable care to protect the visitor from known dangerous conditions on the property.

If the owner knew of a condition on his property that would pose an unreasonable risk of harm, which his visitors could not reasonably be expected to recognize, the owner must take reasonable care to either eliminate the danger or warn visitors.

Invitees are afforded the most protection, however, because they are on the premises for the specific purpose of furthering the business of the property owner.

This means, with respect to invitees, the property owner must take the extra step of inspecting the premises and making sure it is safe.

Contact a Skilled Premises Liability Lawyer in Joplin, Missouri Today

If you have questions regarding an invitee vs. licensee, premises liability, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (800) 364-8305 or send us an online message.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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