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Understanding Duties Owed to Others


Personal Injury

The commonality shared between all negligence actions is the breach of a duty owed to another. Determining precisely what duties are owed to whom depends on the particular circumstance involved. As a general rule, we owe others the duty to act in a reasonable manner. For example, motorists have a duty to maintain safe and proper control of their vehicles, in accordance with standards based upon what actions are reasonable under the circumstances.

Similar concepts of reasonableness can also be applied to negligence actions involving premises liability. The owner, or person otherwise in possession or control of certain premises or property, just like motorists, have a duty to act in a reasonable manner. Specifically, such persons owe a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition in order to prevent injury to others. When an owner, or a person having control or possession of a property breaches a duty owed to another, that person can be held liable for such negligence.

Before a claimant can establish the breach of a duty, it is first necessary to consider whether a duty was owed.This can generally be ascertained by evaluating the following:

Duty to Maintain. Premises owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonable manner such that it is free from unsafe or dangerous conditions that might injure persons that may lawfully be present.

Duty to Inspect. Premises owners have a duty to reasonably inspect their property on a regular basis, or at reasonable increments, to ensure that it remains in a reasonably safe condition.

Duty to Repair. Premises owners have a duty to repair known or foreseeable conditions that present an unsafe, dangerous, or hazardous risk to others.

Duty to Warn. Premises owners have a duty to warn others about known dangers, in circumstances where repair or remedy of the condition is impossible or unpractical.

In addition to the duties owed prior to the occurrence of an accident, there are often additional duties owned by the property owner subsequent to an accident. Often time, the presence or absence of an incident report, or similar document, can greatly impact a claimant’s right to recovery. For example, the property owner may have a duty to adhere to a statutory, administrative, or other regulatory provisions which requires documentation of the incident in a certain manner. See also, ‘Store Owner Liability‘.

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Documenting an incident can provide evidence that proper notice has been supplied to the appropriate entities by a victim seeking compensation. On the other hand, failure to prepare the appropriate writing, report, or similar documentation the accident, can support a claimant’s argument regarding a property owner’s negligence.

Having represented accident victims for several decades, the attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A., have had the privilege of obtaining compensation for clients that were initially unaware or uncertain if they had a valid claim that might entitle them to compensation. In many cases, we have obtained successful results for clients where a previous attorneys declined representation. Protect your legal rights by allowing a legal professional to assess your matter, and explain your rights associated with entitlement to compensation.