Duty Of Care And Foreseeability: 2 Legal Concepts That Inform Slip And Fall Cases

Posted on: 7 October 2019


A slip-and-fall lawsuit is essentially a type of premises liability case. If you have been injured on someone else's property and you want to pursue legal action to gain access to financial compensation, the burden of proving the property owner's liability will fall on you.

Duty of care and foreseeability are two legal concepts that you and your attorney can use to help establish liability and improve the likelihood of your slip-and-fall case ending favorably.

Duty of Care

Nearly all personal injury cases must begin with an established duty of care. In order to be held liable for injuries sustained, an individual must have a duty of care to provide protection against those injuries.

A good example of this duty of care is a grocery store putting out warning signs letting customers know the floors are wet. The store has a duty of care to maintain the safety of its customers, and the warning cone is the visible manifestation of that duty of care.

When you are invited to spend time on someone else's property, that property owner has a duty of care to ensure your safety. Any home improvement projects, landscaping obstacles, or unfinished railings must be clearly marked. If you can show that the property owner did not fulfill his or her duty of care, you have grounds for establishing liability in your slip-and-fall case.


Another legal concept that you will encounter when preparing to take your slip-and-fall case to court is foreseeability. The foreseeability test determines if a property owner should have reasonably known or expected that a hazard located on his or her property would cause injury.

Going back to the grocery store example, the store knows that a wet floor poses a threat. Employees foresee a potential slip-and-fall, so they take action to help prevent these injuries from occurring.

A property owner should be able to foresee that certain elements pose a threat on his or her property. A deck with no railing, unfinished stairs, and other hazards are blatant examples of situations where foreseeability comes into play. The property owner should clearly mark hazards, ensure the area is lit well, and inform you of potential dangers to protect against potential injury.

Your attorney will be able to help you navigate the duty of care and foreseeability aspects of your situation when preparing your slip-and-fall case for trial. It will be these two legal concepts that help you establish your right to financial compensation for your injuries.

For more information, consult a slip-and-fall attorney in your area.