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Donald W. Bedell
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Detailing a property owner’s duty of care

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2020 | Slip-and-Fall Accidents

Many people in Toms River may not view slips and falls as a threat to anyone other than the elderly. Yet having experienced a ground-level fall, you know just how injurious they can be to people of any age. 

Many of our past clients here at the Law Office of Donald W. Bedell learned the hard way exactly how expensive the injuries caused by a ground-level fall can be. When you face such expenses, you may rightly try to assign liability for your accident to the property owner of the location where you fell. The validity of your claim depends on the duty of care the property owner owed to you. 

Defining “duty of care” 

Essentially, the “duty of care” is the responsibility a property owner has to protect you (and others ) from harm when you visit their property. As the word “visit” might have many different contexts, you may think that defining that duty is next to impossible. Fortunately, the law establishes it very clearly by grouping visitors into three distinct classifications. 

The different classes of visitor 

Per the website for the New Jersey Judiciary, these classifications are: 

  • Invitees 
  • Licensees 
  • Trespassers 

If you are an invitee, you are on a property at the property owner’s invitation. As such, the property owner must ensure that the property is reasonably safe for the purposes of your invitation. As a licensee, the owner tolerates your presence on the property (e.g. you are a utility worker or a salesperson). In this case, they must take care to warn you of any existing hazards or dangers on the property. If you are a trespasser, you do not have permission to be on a property. The only duty the property owners owes you is to not willfully injure you. 

You can discover more information on property owner liability throughout our site.