WHAT IS “DUTY OF CARE?”
In the simplest terms, duty of care is the responsibility that property owners legally owe to welcome visitors of their property to provide safe conditions or warn them of possible hazards. In a personal residence, this can constitute a “beware of dog” sign to warn visitors and prevent dog bite injuries. In a commercial property, this can be achieved with “do not enter” signs, or hazard cones warning of a slippery floor.
Different “Types” of Visitors
Before bringing a premises claim against a property owner, you must first determine what kind of visitor you were to the property. If you were considered an invitee, who is someone who is specifically invited or encouraged to enter a property, or a licensee, who is not invited but allowed on the property, you are probably owed some degree of duty of care from the property owner.
If you were a trespasser and were entering the premises illegally, chances are you do not have the grounds to file suit against a property owner. Children who trespass, however, may be owed duty of care if they entered out of natural curiosity and the property owner did not take the appropriate measures to keep children away from any hazards.
Proving Duty of Care
Once you have determined that you were a visitor that was owed duty of care, then it is necessary to document the conditions that harmed you and the property owner’s neglect of the conditions that led to your injury. Demonstrating this actually breaks down to presenting several different pieces of information.
Proving duty of care requires:
- Establishing your status as a visitor who was owed duty of care
- Demonstrating that there were dangerous conditions on the premises
- Showing the owner knew, should have known, or reasonably addressed the conditions
- Indicating that the conditions lead directly to your injury
Note “reasonably” in the conditions above, meaning if visitors are suddenly exposed to dangerous conditions, the property owners must be given a reasonable amount of time to address them. So if, for instance, there is a beverage spill in a supermarket and someone slips and is hurt while staff members run to get a mop, the owners may not be liable: they were promptly responding to the dangerous conditions while someone was hurt.
TRIAL-TESTED PREMISES LIABILITY ATTORNEYS ON LONG ISLAND
Have more questions about your injury on someone else’s property? Our dedicated team of Long Island premises liability attorneys is ready to hear from you. Gruenberg Kelly Della has recovered more than $100 million for clients who have been wrongly hurt and know what it takes to recover our clients the relief they deserve.
Your injuries deserve to be answered for. Contact us now to get started.