Lewis & Tompkins, P.C. | Maryland | Virginia | Washington, D.C.

Free Consultations

PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us in person, via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

What is a business’ duty to protect its customers from harm?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2022 | Premises Liability

When we visit a business as customers, we expect to leave in the same condition in which we arrived. Whether we go to a store to shop or to a restaurant to eat, we shouldn’t be injured in the process. But that’s exactly what happens, all too often. When is a business responsible for those injuries?

You have special status as a customer

Not everyone who enters property owned by another person or entity is treated the same in the eyes of the law. There are legal categories such as licensee or trespasser, which do not receive equal protection for customers. Instead, customers are known as invitees – someone who has been invited to the business (either implicitly or explicitly) and the business expects to gain some benefit from the customer being there.

The business’ duty of care

Because you, as a customer, are an invitee, the business owes you the highest amount of caution required by the law. It must use reasonable care to protect you from harm and it is not absolved of that duty by simply claiming it didn’t know about the danger that caused your injury. Instead, the business is responsible for any hazard that it would have discovered with a reasonable amount of effort.

Whenever a business fails to meet this standard, and a customer is injured, it is considered legally negligent. To correct the failure, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the business. It is a powerful tool at your disposal, allowing you to be made whole again and to hold the business accountable for its actions.