Definitions

Licensee

Licensee

[lahy-suhn-see]
This article is about the common law concept of a licensee; see here for information on licenses

A licensee is a term used in the law of torts to describe a person who is on the property of another, despite the fact that the property is not open to the general public, because the owner of the property has allowed the licensee to enter. The status of a visitor as a licensee (as opposed to a trespasser or an invitee) defines the legal rights of the visitor if they are injured due to the negligence of the property owner.

Where licensees are present, activities conducted on the land by or at the behest of the owner of the land must be conducted with the care that a prudent person would show. A duty to warn arises if there is a harmful condition on the land that is hidden from the licensee, so long as the landowner knows of this condition. The licensee falls between the anticipated or discovered trespasser and the invitee on the sliding scale of tort liability assessed to landowners. Whereas the ancticipated trespasser needs to be protected from known manmade conditions capable of causing death or serious injury, the licensee must be warned of all known dangers. However, unlike an invitee, a licensee has no standing to sue for dangerous conditions that "should have been" discovered by the property owner but were not actually known to the owner. A property owner has no duty whatsoever to trespassers.

Historically, emergency workers police and firefighters have been considered licensees. However, they are barred from recovering from injuries caused by inherent risks of their jobs. Generally such injuries are instead covered by worker's compensation.

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