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What is Constructive Notice, and What Duties Do Store Owners Owe Customers?

What Is Constructive Notice, And What Duties Do Store Owners Owe Customers?

Constructive notice is a legal concept. It is an acknowledgment that a person should be aware of something, even though no verbal or written notice takes place. Actual notice is a legal term that suggests that there is some form of notice that a person has been made aware of something.

Constructive notice can be an extremely important part of premises liability cases. In fact, constructive notice will often be an essential part of a store owners’ duty of care to their customers.

Constructive Notice Versus Actual Notice in Premises Liability Cases

Notices are divided into two main categories, constructive and actual. When considering premises liability claims, actual notice is a fairly straightforward concept. Actual notice happens when a manager is made aware that a hazardous condition exists. Notice can happen firsthand, through the manager coming across the dangerous condition, or it can happen when someone else tells the manager verbally or in writing that a dangerous condition exists.

Constructive notice is not as clear-cut. Constructive notice assumes that the property owner should be aware that a dangerous or potentially dangerous condition exists. One of the easiest examples that can be used to illustrate constructive notice is inclement weather.

If the weather is cold and it snows all night long, the next morning, a manager should know that the walkway in front of their business will be hazardous. A reasonable person understands that snow and ice pose a safety hazard to people entering the business. Measures should then be taken to correct the situation and make the walkway safe.

What Do Store Owners Owe Their Customers?

Consider for a moment the elements needed to prove a premises liability claim:

  • A property owner owes the victim a duty of care
  • The property owner violated their duty of care
  • The violation caused an injury to the victim
  • The injury resulted in damages

The first element needed to establish a viable premises liability or slip and fall claim is that the property owner owes the victim a duty of care. Duty of care is a legal term that means businesses or property owners must exercise a reasonable standard of care while performing acts and conducting business.

Duty of care includes maintaining a property so that it is safe. In simpler terms, store owners owe customers a safe environment that is kept free from dangerous or hazardous conditions which could cause an injury.

When a business presumably has constructive notice of an issue, and that issue then causes an accident, the business may be liable for compensating the accident victim for their injuries. Slip and fall accidents are prime examples of cases where constructive notice and a store owners’ duty of care to patrons can come into play.

Contact a Fairfax Slip and Fall Attorney Now

If you have been injured and believe that a store owner may be to blame, contact the experienced Fairfax premises liability attorneys at Whitestone Young, PC. Our team understands how constructive notice might be factored into an injury claim. We have the experience and resources necessary to help you seek fair compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Time is limited to take action, so call us now.

To discuss how our Fairfax personal injury lawyers could help you after an injury accident, contact us online or call (703) 591-0200. We offer a free and confidential consultation the help get you started. Protect your rights by talking to a skilled attorney today.


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