California’s premises liability law recognizes two entrant statuses to which the owner or occupier of residential premises owes a duty of care: invitee and licensee. While an injured party can also be a trespasser, to whom the homeowner owes no duty of care due to the fact that the trespasser had no permission or lawful right to be on the premises in the first place, let’s focus on the invitee and licensee.
If you have been injured on someone else’s property and it was on residential premises, you may be confused about your entrant status. As you may know, determining your entrant status is a crucial part of establishing liability to recover damages, Riverside premises liability attorney Howard Craig Kornberg says.
In short, an invitee is a person who would not normally be on the residential property but was invited or induced by the possessor of the property to enter the premises for any lawful purpose. A licensee, meanwhile, is a person who does not necessarily have to have a contractual relationship with the property owner but is permitted to be on the premises (for example, a social guest).
Whether the person who enters residential premises is an invitee or licensee, the homeowner owes a duty of care to each of them. However, the degree of care owed differs from one entrant status to another.
The duty of care owed by a homeowner is maintaining the state of the premises in a reasonable manner, eliminating hazardous or dangerous conditions, and ensuring a safe environment.
By contrast, in order to hold a possessor of residential premises liable for his or her injuries, an invitee would only need to prove that the homeowner was aware or should have been aware of the dangerous condition, while his/her own knowledge of the condition is of no relevance.
Our Riverside premises liability attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg explains that in order to hold a property owner liable for your injuries and damages arising from a slip and fall accident or any other accident, you must prove that the homeowner:
Do note, however, that the homeowner will most likely not be held liable for an invitee’s injuries if the risk of physical harm from the activity or condition that caused physical harm was known or obvious to the invitee – unless the owner or occupier of the premises knew of additional risks or harm beyond that knowledge or obviousness.
As you may have noticed by now, legalese is not the easiest language to understand, while California premises liability laws can be quite complicated when you have no law degree. That is why it is highly advised to be represented by a premises liability lawyer in order to obtain compensation for your injuries, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other damages.