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Defining The “Duty Of Care”

Defining The “Duty Of Care”
Christian J. Amendt

Many in Pomona often only consider premises liability cases through certain perspectives (e.g. slip-and-fall cases, animal attack cases). While these perspectives might be helpful if the circumstances of your case fall within them, they might make it difficult for you to determine if you the grounds for a claim in other (more general) scenarios. Here at Amendt Law, many often ask us if legal recourse is available to them under premises liability law. If you share the same question, we offer the same response to you: did the property owner in your case fulfill their duty of care?

“Duty of care” may seem to be such a general term that finding a specific application for it may seem impossible. Fortunately, you do not have to; California’s Civil Jury Instructions have already established a standard. They state a property owner must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a property is in a safe condition, to expend reasonable effort to identify any potential hazards, and to offer reasonable warning to you and others of the presence of a potentially unsafe condition or element.

When considering the application of the duty of care standard, juries are also instructed to take the following factors into account:

  • The property’s location
  • The likelihood others would access the property in the same manner you did
  • The likelihood of harm (and the potential seriousness of that harm)
  • If the property owner should have known of the condition’s potential to cause harm
  • How difficult if would have been to prevent such harm from occurring
  • The extent of property owner’s control over the condition

Any efforts that the property owner in your case made in protecting you from harm are typically also considered. More information on premises liability standards can be found throughout our site.

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