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Are you a trespasser, licensee or invitee?

When you are injured on someone else's property in New Haven, you might automatically assume that the property owner is liable for your injuries and their accompanying expenses. Yet premises liability is determined by your status as a visitor on another's land. That status details the duty the property owner has to ensuring your protection. According to the Connecticut General Assembly, the law recognizes three distinct types of visitors: trespassers, licensees and invitees. So which were you? 

The definition of a trespasser is fairly straightforward; if you are on someone else's property without the owner's permission, you are trespassing. The only duties a property owner has towards you when you are trespassing is to not lay a trap for you (or otherwise intentionally harm you). 

If you have been given consent to enter on to a property (either by invitation or permission), then you are considered a licensee. Given your status as a licensee, a property must warn you of any dangerous features or obstacles you may encounter on his or her hand, as well as any risks you may face from dangerous activities he or she is involved in. 

Invitees differ from licensees in that they come on to a property offering a mutual or business benefit for the property owner. Rulings issued by state courts have identified three classes of invitees: 

  • Public
  • Business
  • Social

As an invitee, you areentitled to the same protections as a licensee. Furthermore, the property owner would be liable for any injuries you suffer as an invitee from hazards that would have been discovered through a reasonable inspection prior to your arrival. That is due to him or her being required to conduct such inspections prior to bringing invitees on to his or her land. 

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