What is Duty of Care and How Does It Impact Your Case?

What is Duty of Care and How Does It Impact Your Case?

Nov 15, 2018 | Personal Injury

When we’re thrown into a situation with a person or business, we have an obligation to act responsibly and prevent harm from befalling that person. Different situations warrant different levels of caution, but there’s a general understanding that we should act in the best interest of one another.

Legally, the term of this idea is “duty of care.” It’s a key term in premises liability cases and will be of great use to you if you’re currently in the throes of a legal battle.

We’ll go into more detail about duty of care and discuss how it could apply to your premises liability case.

What is Duty of Care?

Duty of care is essentially all in the name. It’s a duty that we all have to care for each other to different degrees in different situations. It’s applicable among and across people and businesses, and changes with the nature of the situation.

Companies who make products have a duty of care to the people who purchase those products. If the packaging is untruthful or the product is dangerous due to lack of attention or care, that is a violation of their duty of care. The same goes for doctors’ offices, restaurants, and recreational facilities.

The same goes with property owners. If your property is unsafe for customers or visitors, that is ultimately a fault on your end. If someone is injured on your property, you could be dealing with duty of care issues.

The idea is to act as a reasonable person would. This person is an imaginary do-gooder who acts carefully and reasonably in most situations and thinks about others when making decisions.

Invitees, Licensees, and Trespassers

There are traditionally three kinds of people that will enter a property. Those are invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Each group has a different duty of care associated with them.

Landowners are obligated to let invitees know about any dangerous elements in the house. Licensees, who are essentially business people that are allowed on the property, should be informed of any dangerous element that’s known to the owner.

Trespassers have no duty of care associated with them unless they are children. Your duty of care to trespassing children is to do your best to prevent that child from experiencing harm.

Premises Liability

Premises liability is an idea that reflects the responsibility of a person to keep a safe property and accept responsibility when a person is injured on that property due to negligence.

A person can injure themselves in the safest environment on earth, so it’s not that you’re always responsible for injuries on your property. The injury must be caused by an unsafe condition that would be reasonable for the property owner to have secured in advance.

Personal injury cases that deal with premises liability include slips and falls, ice and snow injuries, maintenance-related injuries, animal bites, and more. There is an almost unlimited amount of ways that a person could be injured in a premises liability case.

Need Assistance With a Case?

Duty of care can be a tricky topic with some grey area. If you’re in the midst of a legal case regarding premises liability, you don’t have to do it alone.

Contact us if you’re in need of any assistance regarding your case and we’d be happy to help.