Understanding How Duty of Care Affects Your Personal Injury Case

doctor shaking patient's handGreg Coleman Law explains key facts about what a duty of care is, how attorneys use this necessary component to prove negligence, and how it helps injured victims obtain compensation for damages.

If you were injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence, contact our firm to learn how we may be able to assist you with your claim. We offer a free legal consultation with no upfront fees to retain our services. We take personal injury cases on contingency, so we only get paid if we win compensation on your behalf.

What Is a Duty of Care?

For most individuals, a duty of care is simply the legal responsibility to act in a reasonable manner in order to prevent harm to others. However, this legal duty manifests itself in a number of ways, including, but not limited to, drivers on the road, property owners and guests, professionals and clients, or medical professional and patient.  

When a duty of care is not upheld, the party who fails to meet that legal duty can be held liable for any damages resulting from that breach. Therefore, to prove negligence, it is necessary to first establish that a duty of care existed between the two involved parties. If there was no duty of care, then there cannot be a breach of duty.

Common Examples of Duty of Care Breaches

Common situations where individuals have breached a duty of care:

  • Drivers have a duty of care to other motorists by following driving laws – Such as if a driver is speeding or aggressively tailgating and collides with another vehicle, resulting in injury. The driver who caused the accident in this situation did not uphold his or her duty of care by following the laws of the road.
  • Property owners have a duty of care to maintain safe premises – If an invited guest trips on an uneven sidewalk and suffers a slip and fall injury, the owner may be liable if he or she did not provide a verbal or written warning or if the dangerous condition was there long enough that the owner knew or should have known about it, but neglected to fulfill his or her duty by repairing it.
  • Medical professionals have a duty to provide patients with an acceptable standard of care – Because a physician or other medical professional has a greater level of training, he or she is held to a higher standard of care and a greater responsibility to uphold that duty. If a physician misses a diagnosis that another doctor with similar training would have caught under similar circumstances, and that failure results in harm to the patient, there may be a breach of physician duty of care.

How an Attorney Establishes Fault for a Claim

Establishing negligence for a personal injury claim is complicated, which is why we strongly recommend seeking legal help. To establish fault for a personal injury claim, you want an experienced lawyer who understands how to clearly provide evidence of all four elements of negligence, including:

Duty of Care

Establishing the other party owed you a duty of care. This could apply differently, depending on the circumstances, such as proving there was a professional relationship, you were both traveling on the same road, or you were an invited guest at someone’s home or property.

Breach of Duty

Proving that the duty was breached by showing that another person with similar background or training under the same circumstances would have acted differently to prevent harm to others. For example, if the at-fault party sped through a red light without stopping and collided with a vehicle moving through the intersection. Another person under the same circumstances would have stopped at the light and avoided causing harm to others.

Causal Link

Showing evidence that the breach directly caused your injury. It is not enough to simply show that there was a breach, your attorney must also prove that if the breach had not happened, you would not have suffered any harm. In our example, if the driver did not run the red light, he or she would not have collided with your vehicle or caused an accident that led to your injuries.

Damages Resulted

Proving you suffered economic and non-economic damages because of the injuries, such as loss of income if you were unable to work, medical bills, as well as physical pain and suffering.

Contact Our Trusted Lawyers For Help With Your Claim

If you suffered an injury due to a breached duty of care, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Speak with our Knoxville personal injury attorneys about your claim when you schedule a free legal consultation. There is no obligation to move forward with a claim after this meeting. However, if we represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay for our services. We get paid only when you do.

Contact our firm to get started today: (865) 247-0080