Tuesdays with Tony: What Is Reasonable Care?

Posted December 17th, 2013 by .

Categories: Attorney Anthony Carbone, Slip and Falls.

Do you know what “reasonable care” is? Tony explains:

What is “reasonable care?” The law says that the owner of commercial premises must use reasonable care to see to it that the condition of the abbuting sidewalk is reasonably safe and does not subject pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm. The concept of reasonable care requires the owner of commercial property to take action with regard to conditions within a reasonable period of time after the owner becomes aware of the dangerous condition or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should become aware of it. So to impose liability, it must be proven that:

  • there was a condition on the sidewalk that was dangerous
  • that it created an unreasonable risk of harm for pedestrians
  • that the owner knew of that condition or should have known of it but failed to take such reasonable action to correct or remedy the situation within a reasonable period of time.

Commercial property owners contend that they did not have any notice of the condition on the property and therefore cannot have liability imposed on them. However, the law places an additional burden on the owner of commercial property. Specifically, it imposes a duty on the commercial property to inspect or make reasonable observations of his/her property in order to discover any dangerous condition that exists or might occur. As this relates to the removal of ice and snow the test to impose liability is to answer if the commercial property owner take action that a reasonably prudent person who knows of the condition or should have known of the condition in that circumstance.

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