What is Duty of Care? 2 Ways Negligence Plays an Important Factor

December 27, 2023

What is Duty of Care? 2 Ways Negligence Plays an Important Factor

Drivers have a duty of care to protect others while on the road

Duty of care is an important factor in personal injury claims.

However, there isn’t an explicit definition for duty of care across the country.

Generally, duty of care is the idea that “failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances”. 

In simple terms, there is a legal obligation to help prevent others from being harmed, especially in the event that they know or have known of a present danger. 

Failure to provide a duty of care is known as negligence

Negligence is defined by the American Bar Association as “careless or thoughtless conduct or a failure to act” how a “reasonable person would have acted”.

California Civil Jury Instructions 1003 outlines negligence in the state with two different lines.

First, the defendant knows, or should have known about a risk of harm. Second, the defendant failed to fix, protect against, or warn against the risk of harm.

Negligence and duty of care both sound very similar. Essentially, any case centered around duty of care will need to prove negligence by the defendant. 

According to California Civil Code 1714:

“Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person”.

Duty of care can vary from injury to injury.

For example, in the event of a car accident, the duty of care would involve the negligent driver (the person at-fault in the accident).

Imagine a situation where a driver blows past a stop sign and t-bones a vehicle that has the right of way. For a successful suit, the negligent driver’s lack to show a duty of care for other passengers must be proven.

It’s more obvious in such an accident like this. The driver who went through the stop sign showed a lack of duty of care by refusing to follow traffic rules and stop at the stop sign.

A slip and fall claim could be affected by duty of care

Another personal injury where duty of care could become a major factor are slip and fall accidents. 

A slip and fall happens when an individual does just that on someone else’s property. Examples include slipping at a mall or falling down an uneven staircase at school. 

Slips and falls are considered to be a premises liability claim since they happen on another person’s property.

California Civil Jury Instructions 1000 states that to successfully prove premises liability, one must show that:

  • The defendant controlled the premises and had a duty of care 
  • The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property 
  • The plaintiff was injured 
  • The defendant’s negligence caused the injuries sustained by the plaintiff

Essentially, owners have a duty of care to protect guests who come to their property. Failure to do so is negligent, and could be the basis for a personal injury claim.

Personal injuries can have a number of severe consequences, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Back pain and injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Concussions
  • Damage to vital organs
  • Internal bleeding
  • Trauma to various parts of the body
  • Torn ligaments
  • Loss of limbs
  • Chronic pain in any number of body parts
  • Paralysis
  • PTSD
  • Wrongful death

Duty of care is just one of the many layers in a personal injury case. Determining factors to build a claim can be tough, especially for those unfamiliar with the law.

If you suffered a personal injury, contact the Southern California attorneys at C&B Law Group.

Our duty is to give you the highest standard of service possible. We won’t back down from challenging insurance company’s until we believe you are receiving the best compensation possible for your injuries.

The LA personal injury attorneys at C&B Law Group have an over 99 percent success rate at settling cases. We’ve helped clients recover damages that include:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering

If you’re looking for a team of Burbank personal injury attorneys committed to justice, excellence, and most importantly, your well-being, we think you’ve come to the right place.

From Van Nuys to Pasadena, we’re on your side.

Contact C&B Law Group today for a free consultation.

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