Legal Statuses of Property Visitors: Licensees, Invitees, and Trespassers
There are three legal statuses that Colorado law acknowledges, from Denver to Castle Pines. These are:
Licensees are people who have personal reasons to be on or in the property, usually as an individual guest of the property owner. An invitee is someone on the premises for business purposes, often a contractor or customer. Trespassers, however, are people on the property without any official permission or knowledge.
Any property owner owes a duty of care to the licensees and invitees who visit their property. It is the job of the owner or the authorized individuals to make sure both types of visitors are in complete safety. Even so, premises liability accidents happen every day. In 2016, 697 property visitors died in falls to a lower level. More than 48,000 of those victims were injured enough to miss work.
It is in the best interest of land and property owners to make sure welcome visitors are safe while on their property. If there are any hazardous conditions, the owner also has to make visitors aware of them.
The owner does not owe anything to any trespasser, with very few exceptions.
What Damages Can Property Visitors Claim?
In a liability lawsuit in Lone Tree, Colorado, the legal status of a person determines what they can get if they sustain injuries on someone’s premises. For trespassers, for example, they can only receive damages that come from willful and deliberate harm. A judge will decide if the trespasser did not incite a situation that warranted self-defense.
Invitees can claim damages that relate to a landowner’s failure to provide a duty of care and protection only if they have prior knowledge. In simpler terms, you can claim damages if you trip and fall, get a dog bite, or are otherwise harmed by unsafe conditions as long as you can demonstrate that the property owner knew about the problem in the first place.
In Colorado, licensees generally have the easiest cases when it comes to claiming compensation for a premises liability claim. A licensee can recover damages from the property owner’s failure to use reasonable care regarding dangers on their premises. In addition, landowners may owe compensation to licensees if they failed to warn those licensees of dangers — even if those dangers were not created by the landowner.