In Order to Obtain Compensation for Injuries Incurred While on Another’s Property in Idaho Depends on Whether the Plaintiff is an Invitee, Licensee or Trespasser
A customer goes to the store and merchandise falls from the top shelf injuring the customer. What is the responsibility of the store with regard to compensating a customer for injuries and damages in that situation?
Premises liability covers a wide array of circumstances where an occupier of someone else’s property may be entitled to recover compensation for injuries and damages that happen upon another’s person’s property.
NEGLIGENCE OF A LANDOWNER IS PREDICATED UPON FOUR ELEMENTS
In order to establish whether the store owner is negligent, we look to the four bases of liability surrounding tort law and negligence. In Idaho, a plaintiff has the burden of proof to establish by competent testimony and evidence on a more likely than not basis four (4) elements, namely, "(1) a duty, recognized by law, requiring the defendant to conform to a certain standard of conduct; (2) a breach of duty; (3) a causal connection between the defendant’s conduct and the resulting injury; and (4) actual loss or damage. Robinson v. Mueller, 2014 Lex.App. LEXIS 31 (Ct.App. 2014) citing Turpin v. Granieri, 133 Idaho 244, 247, 985 P.2d 669, 672 (1999).
IN ORDER TO OBTAIN COMPENSATION FOR INJURIES INCURRED WHILE ON ANOTHER’S PROPERTY THE QUESTION OF COMPENSATION DEPENDS ON WHETHER THE PLAINTIFF IS AN INVITEE, LICENSEE OR TRESPASSER
In Idaho, there are three different types of visitors to another person’s property. The duty owed to a visitor to another person’s property depends in large part to the status of the visitor at the moment of injury, i.e., the duty recognized by law to an injured person is determined on whether the visitor was one of the following, namely:
1) An invitee;
2) A licensee; or
3) A trespasser.
Ball v. City of Blackfoot, 152 Idaho 673, 677, 273 P.3d 1266, 1270 (2012). In other words, the status of the plaintiff at the time of injury will determine to what extent, if any, the landowner owes as a duty of care to the visitor at the time the injury occurred.
A LANDOWNER OWES AN INVITEE THE DUTY TO KEEP THE PROPERTY IN A REASONABLY SAFE CONDITION OR TO WARN OF HIDDEN OR CONCEALED DANGERS.
The of the aforesaid three designations, the highest duty of care is owed to an invitee. An invitee is a person who enters upon a landowner’s property with the landowner’s consent for the purpose of bestowing a benefit upon the landowner. Holzheimer v. Johannesen, 125 Idaho 397, 400, 871 P.2d 814, 817 (1994). The benefit could be one of business, commercial, monetary or other tangible benefit. Id.
In Idaho, the landowner owes an invitee the duty to keep his premises reasonably safe or to warn of any hidden or concealed dangers. Id. Evans v. Park, 112 Idaho 400, 401, 732 P.2d 369, 370 (Ct.App. 1987).
A LANDOWNER OWES A LICENSEE THE DUTY TO TELL THE LICENSEE ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF ANY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS OR ACTIVITIES ON THE LAND.
The licensee is a person who also occupies the land of a landowner with the landowner’s consent, but unlike the invitee, the purpose of the visit or occupation is for their own benefit and not for the benefit of the landowner. The duty owed by the landowner to a licensee is less than that of an invitee. The landowner’s duty to a licensee is only to tell the licensee about the existence of any dangerous conditions or activities on the land. Evans, 112 Idaho at 401, 732 P.2d at 370.
A LANDOWNER HAS A DUTY TO A TRESPASSER TO AVOID RENDERING WILLFUL OR WANTON INJURY TO A TRESPASSER.
The person who enters or remains upon land without the consent of the landowner, either express or implied, constitutes that of a trespasser. In Idaho, the landowner has no duty of care to a trespasser until his presence is made known to the landowner and in that case to avoid rendering injury to the trespasser that is willful or wanton to occasion injury to the trespasser. O’Guin v. Bingham County, 139 Idaho 9, 14, 72 P.3d 849, 854 (2003). The Idaho Supreme Court has also held that:
"Willful and wanton misconduct is present if the defendant intentionally does or fails to do an act, knowing or having a reason to know facts which would lead a reasonable man to realize that his conduct not only creates unreasonable risk of harm to another, but involves a high degree of probability that such harm would result."
CALL BOISE TRIAL ATTORNEY ALAN MORTON IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED ON THE PREMISES OF ANOTHER FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.
If you have been injured while visiting a business establishment for a commercial, business or other monetary purpose on behalf of a landowner, you should seek a consultation with an experienced premises liability trial lawyer. Boise Personal Injury and Premises Liability Alan Morton has over 31 years of experience in representing clients regarding claims for personal injury and death. You may contact Mr. Morton to schedule an initial free consultation by calling 208.344.5555 or toll free at 888.716.8021 or by completing the online contact form.