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Duty of Care by Mind Map: Duty of Care
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Duty of Care

This is a requirement that a person act toward others and the public with the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would use. If a person's actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent, and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for negligence.

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A circle with lines across it means that there are notes to read that explain the topic. You will find a printer-friendly version under Doc Sharing, located on the tabs at the top of your course pages.

Duty to Licensee

Licensee is a term used in the law of torts to describe a person who is on the property of another, despite the fact that the property is not open to the general public, because the owner of the property has allowed the licensee to enter. The status of a visitor as a licensee (as opposed to a trespasser or an invitee) defines the legal rights of the visitor if they are injured due to the negligence of the property owner. Where licensees are present, activities conducted on the land by or at the behest of the owner of the land must be conducted with the care that a prudent person would show. A duty to warn arises if there is a harmful condition on the land that is hidden from the licensee, so long as the landowner knows of this condition. The licensee falls between the anticipated or discovered trespasser and the invitee on the sliding scale of tort liability assessed to landowners. Whereas the trespasser needs to be protected from known conditions capable of causing death or serious injury, the licensee must be warned of all known dangers. However, unlike an invitee, a licensee has no standing to sue for dangerous conditions unknown to the property owner.

Duty to Invitee

In the law of torts, an invitee is a person who is invited to land by the possessor of the land as a member of the public, or one who's invited to the land for the purpose of business dealings with the possessor of the land. The status of a visitor as an invitee (as opposed to a trespasser or a licensee) defines the legal rights of the visitor if they are injured due to the negligence of the property owner. The property owner has a duty to make the property safe for the invitee, which includes conducting a reasonable inspection of the premises to uncover hidden dangers. The property owner also has a duty to warn the invitee of hazardous conditions that can not be fixed. Furthermore, property owners assume a duty to rescue an invitee who falls into peril while visiting the property. If an independent contractor hired by the landowner injures an invitee (intentionally or through negligence), the owner can be held vicariously liable. This represents the broadest duty of care owed to any class of visitors to the property. It should be noted that a property owner who selectively limits entry to the property - to paying customers, to a set number of people, or even in a discriminatory fashion - is nonetheless opening the property to invitees, so long as the property owner holds the property open to some segment of the general public.

Duty to Trespassers

With respect to the duties owed to trespassers, there are two types of trespassers to consider. First, there is the undiscovered trespasser, to whom the property owner owes no duties whatsoever. Second, there is the anticipated or discovered trespasser. To those parties, the landowner owes a duty of common humanity (See British Railways Board v. Herrington)- a duty to warn them of deadly conditions on the land which would be hidden to them, but of which the property owner is aware. A warning sign at the entrance to the land will suffice for this purpose. However, a property owner is under no duty to ascertain hazards on his own property, and cannot be held liable for failing to discover a deadly hazard which injures a trespasser. Furthermore, a trespasser who is injured while on the Defendant's property cannot sue under a theory of strict liability, even if the landowner was engaged in ultrahazardous activities, such as the keeping of wild animals, or the use of explosives. Instead, the trespasser must prove that the property owner was negligent. A property owner may use reasonable (nondeadly) force to prevent a person from trespassing on their land, or to expel a trespasser. However, a property owner may not force a trespasser off of his land if doing so would expose the trespasser to a risk of serious injury. For example, a trespasser who takes shelter in a stranger's barn during a powerful storm cannot be expelled until the storm is over.