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What duty of care to you owe to visitors?

| Oct 19, 2018 | Premises Liability |

You would hope that no one that visits your property in San Antonio ever suffers an injury while there. As you are responsible for the condition of your property, you are likewise responsible for the safety of any of those who enter it. You might understand and accept this concept, yet your level of commitment to guaranteeing another’s safety might differ depending on the nature of a visitor. This prompts the question of what duty of care do you owe to those who come on to your property

When considering this question, it helps to know that there are actually three different legal classifications of visitors: 

  • Invitees
  • Licensees
  • Trespassers

As the name implies, invitees are those that you invite on to your property. That can be a family member or friend that you invite to your residential property, or a customer who patronizes your business. A licensee is one who enters your property as a function of their work, such as a utility worker or a landscaper or contractor. Finally, a trespasser is one who is on your property without your permission. 

You owe a duty of care to invitees and licensees that includes ensuring that any hazards that could cause injuries to others are removed (or clearly identified so that guests know to avoid them). If any type of the aforementioned guests is injured by such a hazard that you were not aware of, your liability will be determined based on whether it is believed reasonable care and maintenance of your property would have uncovered such an issue. 

As far as your duty to protect trespassers, a 2014 Texas Supreme Court ruling established that your only responsibility to them is not to injure them willfully, wantonly or through gross negligence.