There are several legal terms that refer to an individual’s status
while they are on someone else’s property. These terms are most
often used in premises liability cases and distinguished by the purpose
for being on the premises in question. In determining whether someone
may be liable for injuries sustained on someone else’s property,
you must determine whether the victim was a licensee, invitee or trespasser.
This article will examine what it means to be an “invitee”
in the context of premises liability.
Basic definition of “invitee”
An “invitee” is an individual who is on someone else’s
property because they were invited to be there by the property owner.
Invitees generally fall into one of two categories depending on the reason
for the invitation: a business invitee or a public invitee. As the descriptions
imply, if you are on the property to conduct some type of business you
are a business invitee. If the property is made available to the public,
then you are a public invitee. These distinctions are important because
they may require a different duty of care by the property owner.
Am I a Business Invitee?
Technically, a person who is a business invitee is on the premises for
a business purpose, meaning their presence on the property will affect
the owner’s financial status. Put more simply, if you are a customer
at a store, you are a business invitee. You were invited, as all customers
are, to visit the premises with the hope that you will purchase something
from the store. Another example is someone who is hired to perform work
or services on the business property.
On the other hand, individuals who visit property that is made open to
the public at large are considered public invitees. The most common examples
are public parks or public libraries. The catch is that you must be on
the premises in compliance with any applicable rules. So, if you stay
at the public park after hours and you are injured, then you would be
considered a trespasser in that situation, instead of an invitee.
If you have questions regarding a personal injury matter, call the Law
Office of Cody R. Wix, LLC at (205) 381-4787.