Premise Liability - Slip and Fall - Part 3
If you are classified as a licensee - or social guest - the owner of the premises only owes you the duty to warn you of dangers that the premises owner already knows about. In other words, the premises owner does not owe you a duty to reasonably inspect the premises for dangers. The premises owner can close his eyes to danger and then not be liable if the danger unknown to him because he closed his eyes injures you.
If you are classified as a trespasser, the only duty the premises owner owes to you is not to intentionally injure you. As I said in an earlier post, trespasser in this case means all others except invitees and licensees.
In an earlier post, I explained that you can be an invitee on the store's sales floor but become a trespasser if you enter into a non-sales area.
For example, you are having your tires replaced. If you leave the sales area or the waiting area to get a closer look at the tires - to make sure they are putting on the ones that you bought - you have become a trespasser. And the only duty the store owes you is not to intentionally injure you. They can know that there is a hidden danger with which you will come into contact and become injured and yet they do not owe you even the duty to warn you.
Most people would not think of themselves as trespassers if they went to assure themselves that the proper tires were being installed. But the law would. And it makes a huge difference in the duty owed by the premises owner.
This completes my posts on premises liability. Contact me if you have any questions.