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What are the 3 categories of visitors in a premises liability?

When it comes to premises liability cases -- or cases where someone is injured after visiting a dangerous property -- there are three different categories of visitors. Depending what type of visitor the injured person was, it could affect his or her premises liability suit.

First, you have what is called an "invitee." This individual was invited onto a piece of property that belongs to another person. An invitee, for example, might be a shopper inside a department store. In these situations, the property owner or store owner needs to be on task when it comes to reasonably maintaining the property to prevent accidents.

Second, you have what is called a "licensee." A licensee is categorized as a person who enters a property for his or her own purposes or as a guest at a social occasion. This individual is present on the property with the property owner's consent.

Third, you have what is called a "trespasser." A trespasser is someone who enters a property without the consent of the property owner, usually illegally. Interestingly, even in the case of a trespasser who is hurt while illegally on someone else's property, a premises liability action might be possible, though it is rare.

In both the cases of licensees and trespassers, there does not exist an implied promise that reasonable care was made to make sure that the property was safe for the visitors. However, in the case of the invitee, there is the implied promise that the property owner or property manager took reasonable precautions to ensure the property's safety.

Illinois residents must realize that each premises liability case is different and -- which category the plaintiff falls under in terms of the type of visitor -- could be subject to debate during the litigation of a claim. Therefore, personal injury plaintiffs may want to consult with an attorney before deciding whether or not they have a viable personal injury claim that is worthy of pursuit.

Source: FindLaw, "Premises Liability: Who Is Responsible?," accessed March 04, 2016

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