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Duty of Care Explained

Nov 3, 2014

All property owners have what is known as a “duty of care” to individuals who come onto their property. This is a key concept in the theory of premises liability, which is the property owner’s responsibility to do all that he or she reasonably can do to remove potential safety hazards from his or her property for the benefit of his or her visitors.

Duty of care refers to the level of responsibility a property owner has to provide a safe environment for others on the property depending on why they are on the property. These individuals can be divided into two categories: invitees, also sometimes known as licensees, and trespassers.

Invitees and Trespassers

Invitees are individuals who are explicitly invited onto the property for specific reasons, such as to conduct business or as social guests of the property owner. If an invitee is injured while on the property, the property owner owes him or her a high duty of care. Basically, this means that the property owner is required to eliminate all possible hazards that invitees might reasonably face on the property. If an invitee is injured in an accident on the property, the property owner may be held liable for his or her damages. A property owner must sufficiently notify invitees of all hazards that he or she can not eliminate. For example, he or she must note any broken steps or wet floors.

Trespassers, on the other hand, are individuals who enter a property without the owner’s permission. They are owed a much lower duty of care. Although a property owner may not take actions against a trespasser that intentionally put the trespasser in danger, a property owner is not required to make adjustments to existing hazards on the property for trespassers’ safety. However, a property owner may be required to provide a higher duty of care to child trespassers, especially if he or she is aware that the children regularly enter the property.

What if I am Injured on Private Property?

Depending on the property owner’s duty of care to you and how the extent of his or her negligence caused your injury, you may be able to recover your expenses through a premises liability claim. These expenses may include medical bills, lost wages if you must take time off work to recover, and any disability aids you need as a result of the injury.

Always be sure to seek adequate medical care for your injury before taking any other steps with your claim. This is important for few reasons:

  • The sooner you receive medical care for your injury, the better chance you have of making a full, fast recovery.
  • If you decide to file a premises liability claim, you will need to prove that you are seeking and receiving treatment for your injury.

Work with a Chicago Premises Liability Attorney

If you have been injured due to a property owner’s negligence and you are considering filing a premises liability claim to recover your losses, contact The Law Offices of Thomas A. Morrissey at 708-352-3790 to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm. We can explain premises liability and duty of care to you in detail, incorporating specific details from your case to determine your legal options and the best way for you to proceed with your claim.













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