Many people might think that a business, such as a casino, restaurant, or grocery store, is automatically liable if someone injures himself in a slip and fall accident. However, this is not necessarily true. The business owner—or property owner—must have been negligent in order be responsible. One of the key elements to proving this is showing that the owner had a duty to the accident victim that was breached. But not all visitors are entitled to the same duty of care from the owner.
The Duty Owed to Invitees, Licensees, and Trespassers
In a premises liability case, such as a slip and fall accident, the legal status of the person bears directly on the business or property owner’s duty to him. In Nevada, there are three types of visitors—invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Here’s how this can affect a slip and fall case:
- Invitee. An invitee is someone the business or property owner invited onto the property. For example, business owners invite customers to come to their businesses and stores. Homeowners invite guests to come visit, and landlords invite tenants and prospective tenants to come onto their rental properties. These owners know the invitees were coming onto their properties and owe these guests the highest duty to maintain a safe property.
- Licensee. A licensee is someone a business owner or property owner allows onto the property, but did not invite the person to come. Examples of a licensee include a friend who comes over unannounced or a salesperson who enters a business to sell the business a service or product. Unlike some states, licensees in Nevada are treated the same as invitees, and business owners have the same duty to them as invitees.
- Trespasser. A trespasser is someone who was uninvited and enters the business or property without permission. Businesses and property owners have no duty to keep the property safe for them. However, there is an exception to this rule if the trespasser is a child. In these situations, the business or property owner must use reasonable care to keep the child away from the dangerous area.
What type of visitor you were in your slip and fall accident may not be clear cut. An experienced Nevada slip and fall accident attorney will be able to advise you on what type of visitor you were and the business or property owner’s duty to you. If you or a family member suffered a slip and fall accident, call us at 866-299-0558 to schedule a free consultation, and we will be happy to discuss this issue with you as well as advise you of your legal options.