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What is the duty of care?

What is the duty of care?

Are you aware that you can recover from injuries suffered on the property of another person, even if that person did not directly do anything to harm you? This can even be the case in some instances where the person was not even aware of your presence on the property. Here is more information on the duty of care, and how it affects you if you have been injured.

What is the duty of care?

Simply put, the duty of care is the idea that the owner of property owes a duty to other people to keep the property reasonably safe. The level of duty owed varies depending on who the other party is, or what his or her purpose for being on the property is.

A duty of care can be proactive or reactive. This means that the owner of property can have the duty to take proactive steps to avoid creating inherently dangerous conditions. For example, the owner of a store has a duty to avoid storing gunpowder right next to an open flame.

A duty of care can also be reactive, meaning that the owner of the property has the duty to take steps to correct a dangerous condition, even when that condition was not created through any fault of his or her own. For example, the owner of a store has a duty to take reasonable steps to clean the sidewalks in front of the store following a snowstorm. In this case, even though he or she did not cause the snow to fall and the sidewalk to become slippery, there is still a duty to take reasonable steps to minimize the danger.

What level of care is required?

Obviously a property owner cannot be held strictly liable for every situation that occurs on his or her property regardless of anything else. Otherwise, running a business would be prohibitively expensive, and many stores would shut down rather than risk being sued.

Thus, a property owner has a certain level of care that must be satisfied. The level of care that is required depends on the reason that the person who was injured has for being on the property. Generally, people who are present for business reasons (such as customers) are owed the highest duty of care. Social visitors, such as friends coming over for a visit, are owed a lower duty of care. Uninvited people (trespassers) are owed the lowest duty—sometimes, no duty at all, depending on the facts.

For more information on the duty of care, contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!