When you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you could be entitled to financial compensation. That’s because everyone has a duty of care – a responsibility to others.
So what is duty of care in personal injury cases, and how does it apply if you were hurt because of someone else’s action or inaction?
What is “Duty of Care” in a Personal Injury Case?
Duty of care is a legal term, and it refers to a responsibility each person has to avoid harming others. In a personal injury case, your attorney must show that the person responsible for your injuries had a duty of care – and that he or she breached it, resulting in your injuries.
Examples of Duty of Care
Example #1: On the Road
If a driver runs a red light and smashes into your vehicle as you’re cautiously and legally proceeding through an intersection, there’s a good chance that the driver who hit you breached his or her duty of care. That’s because a driver’s main responsibility is to operate a motor vehicle safely so as not to endanger others.
Example #2: In the Store
If you’re strolling through the grocery store and slip in a puddle of oil, the grocery store’s employees may have breached their duty of care. Stores are responsible for maintaining reasonably safe environments, so if workers knew the oil was there and had not taken steps to make the area safe – either by placing a barrier around the spill or by putting up warning signs – you could have a case.
Example #3: Outdoors
If you slip on a patch of ice when you enter a business, or if you fall down the stairs on your way to a business because there’s no bannister (or a broken or damaged bannister) in place, the business may have breached its duty of care. Businesses are responsible for creating reasonably safe conditions for customers and guests, and if the business knew there was an issue but did not take steps to correct it, you may have a valid case.
A Breach of the Duty of Care
You can hold another person or a business liable for a breach of its duty of care, provided that you and your attorney can prove:
- The individual or business had a duty of care to you
- The individual or business breached that duty
- You suffered actual damages because of the breach
- The breach of the duty of care actually caused you to suffer damages
Typically, this is called negligence. The bottom line is that people are responsible for doing things in ways that won’t hurt others – and for preventing harm or injury to others when reasonably possible. If a person or business does something (or fails to do something, like de-ice the sidewalk or clean up a spill) that results in your injuries, you can hold them accountable.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Negligence and Duty of Care?
If you’ve been injured and someone else is at least partially at-fault, we may be able to help you. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation – we can visit you at home or in the hospital to learn more about your case and help you get the financial compensation you deserve.