Premises Liability - Highest Duty of Care owed to an Invitee

Posted Friday, January 15, 2010 by Ed Harper

A possessor of land is obligated, to varying degrees, to those who come upon his or her land. The level of obligation is determined by the “status” or connection with the land. This is somewhat an antiquated legal perspective, and many other states do not abide by this common law distinction. One is either an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.

Of the three different levels, the highest degree of care is owed to an invitee – one who is invited onto the premises, either by express or implied permission, to enter or remain on land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with the business dealings of the possessor of the land. Restatement (Second) of Torts Sec. 332.

Thus, the occupier must warn of latent dangers (aka hidden dangers) and to affirmatively protect the invitee against dangers in the condition of the premises about which the landowner knows or should reasonably have known.

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