How Duty of Care is Determined in a Personal Injury Case

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on January 31, 2020 and updated on March 4, 2022.

scales and gavelDuty of care is an important element in any personal injury case. It is a legal duty to take reasonable care to prevent harm to others. If you are seeking compensation through a personal injury claim, you must prove that the other party owed you a duty of care.

Our Maryland personal injury attorneys further explain duty of care and how it applies to many different scenarios. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, request a free legal consultation.

What is the ‘Duty of Care’?

People have an inherent duty to act in a reasonable manner to avoid causing harm to others at any given time. If someone fails to uphold this duty, he or she may be held responsible for any harm that others suffer because of this failure. This is a cornerstone of personal injury law.

This duty of care applies to everyone in most situations. Furthermore, the law outlines specific duties of care that those in certain professions owe others, such as medical professionals or bus drivers. These duties of care are higher than what is expected of the average individual.

  • Doctors owe patients a duty of care to deliver care in the same manner another doctor of similar training would under similar circumstances.
  • Commercial carriers like pilots and bus drivers owe passengers a duty of care to act reasonably to keep them safe while traveling.
  • Businesses owe customers a duty of care to act as other reasonable businesses would in order to prevent injuries.

Instances When a Duty of Care is Violated

When someone fails to uphold the duty of care owed another person, this violation is called a breach of duty of care. Examples of breached duty of care include the following:

  • A motorist is injured in a car accident. The driver who caused the accident may have breached the duty of care owed to other motorists to act reasonably to prevent harm to others if he or she was driving distracted or aggressively.
  • A visitor is injured due to dangerous conditions on someone else’s property. The property owner may have breached his or her duty of care if he or she did not warn of dangerous conditions or failed to discover and remedy the conditions within a reasonable amount of time.
  • A patient is injured by a doctor’s treatment. The doctor may be liable if he or she did not treat the patient in the same manner another similarly skilled doctor would have in the situation.
  • A consumer is injured while using a product. The product’s design made the product dangerous for use, in which case the manufacturer may be held liable.

Establishing Negligence in Personal Injury Cases

For a personal injury case to be successful, four elements must be proven:

  • A duty of care existed between the parties
  • The duty of care was breached
  • The breach directly caused the victim’s injuries
  • As a result, the victim suffered damages

A breach of duty of care is referred to as negligence. Negligence occurs when a party fails to act in a reasonable manner to prevent harm to others. In a personal injury case, you and your attorney must establish exactly how the at-fault party violated or breached that standard of care.

Schedule a Free Consultation to Learn More

If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation for the damages you suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. At the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, we have been helping clients injured or wronged obtain millions in compensation.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to have your claim reviewed by our legal team. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.

Call 410-244-7005 or complete our Free Case Review form.