Duty Of Care In Personal Injury Cases
Duty of care is a facet of the law that is critical in proving negligence in a personal injury case. If you wish to prove negligence in your case, you may have to prove that the defendant has breached his duty of care. Though there are no legal measurements of duty of care, there are some legal standards to help determine whether or not a defendant has breached it.
What is duty of care?
Duty of care basically means what a reasonable person would do or foresee in regards to what might harm someone. For example, let's say you were shopping in a store and a display fell on you. A court may say that it is the store's duty to make sure that displays be made safe so they won't fall or that a reasonable store worker would have seen faults in the display. The amount of duty of care required can depend on the relationship between the people involved. Customers are expected to be given a great deal of duty of care while a trespasser or robber may be expected to be given very little.
What is a reasonable person?
You may notice that the words "a reasonable person" are often mentioned when it comes to duty of care. A reasonable person is more of an ideal than a reality. It basically means what a normal person of average skill in their profession would do under normal circumstances. Criteria for a reasonable person depend on profession, age, and even disability. For example, if a person is disabled, then the standard would be based on how people with that disability would act. If the person is of higher than average skill, they will be held to a higher standard. Children under six are frequently considered too young to be held up to the reasonable person standard.
What is breach of duty?
After determining what the duty of care is for a reasonable person in a legal situation, then it can be proved whether or not there was a breach of duty. To prove breach of duty, it has to be shown that the defendant did not live up to their duty of care. In other words, you would have to prove that the defendant didn't do what he was supposed to do when he was supposed to do it. Determining this, again, is based on many factors depending on the situation and relationship between the defendant and plaintiff.
Though duty of care is an important part of a personal injury lawsuit, it is not the only factor in such a case. You also must prove that you didn't contribute to the incident. In some cases, having any contribution to the problem may greatly affect any settlement you receive. This is why it is important to talk to an attorney, such a John J Bublewicz Attorney At Law, before filing a lawsuit to get more detail on how to win your case.