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We All Have A Duty To Act Reasonably But Some People Have a Special Duty - A Fiduciary Duty

For those of you who have been reading this blog, you understand appreciate that the difference between an accident and a claim that the law recognizes as a civil wrong, is whether somebody failed to comply with a duty owed to another. In other words, for purposes of review, an individual could slip and fall on a floor made wet by the last customer that walked in front of the injured person only a few seconds earlier. Because this did not permit the supermarket personnel to have the opportunity to inspect the floor and clean up the dangerous condition, the slip and fall would likely be considered an "accident." The duty to protect a customer arises when there is an opportunity to learn that a danger existed in sufficient time to warn the public of the danger by posting a " Wet Floor " sign or by eliminating the danger. Sufficient time must exist to inspect the premises from the time the danger arose and to clean up or warn passersby before the incident can take place. A violation or breach of that duty, which the law considers "reasonable care" (assuming an injury and the absence of contributory negligence), results in a negligence case. There are other duties called "fiduciary duties." A fiduciary duty arises when there is a special relationship between an individual and another individual or an individual and an entity, such as an insurance company, a doctor, a hospital, an attorney, or a clergyman. When a fiduciary duty arising from a special relationship exists, the standard of care is higher to protect the individual from harm. Failure to comply with a fiduciary duty can result in a bad faith claim against the insurance company.