Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Types of Visitors and the Care They are Owed

The level of care owed to someone who visits your property depends on what type of visitor they are. Missouri recognizes three types of visitors; trespassers, licensees, and invitees, and you owe each a different level of care when they visit your property.

Trespassers visit your property without consent or privilege. Generally speaking, you don't owe trespassers any level of care when they are on your property. However, you can be liable to a trespasser who is injured on your property if 1) you have a dangerous condition on your property and 2) you know about the condition and 3) you know some is trespassing on your property. Obviously, the dangerous condition must have injured the trespasser for you to be liable. An example of this is if a path crosses your property and there is something dangerous near the path, like a hole or cliff. If you know people use the path without your consent and you know of the dangerous condition, you then owe the trespassers the duty to warn, barricade, or remove it. There are several exceptions to this general rule.

A licensee visits your property with consent, but for their own purpose, like a social guest. You can be liable for injuries to licensees if 1) you have a dangerous condition on your property and 2) you knew of the dangerous condition and 3) the licensee did not know of the dangerous condition and 4) you knew the licensee was unaware of the dangerous condition and 5) you failed to remove, remedy, or warn of the dangerous condition. Your obligation to remove, etc., the dangerous condition is based on ordinary care, meaning that you don't need to be very careful or go too far out of your way to take care of a dangerous condition.

You owe an invitee the highest level of care of all visitors. An invitee visits your property with your consent and for your benefit. The most typical invitee is a customer in a store. You are liable for an invitee's injuries on your property if 1) he or she is injured because of a dangerous condition on your property and 2) you knew or should have known of the condition and 3) you failed to remove, remedy, or warn of it. The "should have known" means that you must use ordinary care to find dangerous conditions on your property and take care of them before invitees visit your property.

Categorizing visitors and the care you owe them can be difficult, especially if the visitor could fall into multiple categories. If you have a question about visitors on your property, or if you have been injured visiting someone else's property and have questions, please feel free to contact us at any time. We have extensive experience in premises liability cases.

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