To determine if a property owner is liable for any crimes or injuries that take place on the property, it is important to determine a person’s status while on those premises. A person may be an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser. If someone is invited onto a property as an invitee or an invited licensee, the owner of that property must protect or warn guests against known dangers. The property owner also has a duty to protect against third-party crimes.
An uninvited licensee is someone who is on the property at his or her own convenience but is not specifically invited to be there. In this case, a property owner is only required to protect against the wanton injury of licensees. Property owners are not required to protect against third-party crimes that occur while an univited licensee is on the property.
The same is true when a trespasser enters a property. A trespasser is someone who enters a property with no invitation or license to do so. Trespassers may simply idle on or near the property to satisfy their own curiosity. This is done at the convenience of the person who decides to trespass and is done for the specific purpose of the trespasser.
Those who are injured on a property may wish to hire a premises liability attorney who can review the facts of the case to determine a client’ s status. Depending on that status, it may be possible for an injury victim to receive compensation in court. This may be true whether the owner of the property did not meet due care requirements or if a third-party crime occurred.
Source: The Florida Bar Journal, “Premises Liability: A Notable Rift in the Law of Foreseeable Crimes“, Wilton H. Strickland, September 18, 2014