Duty of care | Definition
A "Duty of Care" is when a person, company or organisation has a legal obligation to safeguard the well-being of others.
Duty of Care is a legal principle which establishes that a defendant (the person or organisation being sued) has a responsibility to take reasonable care to prevent harm to the claimant (the person making an injury claim).
A Duty arises in situations where there is a relationship of proximity between the defendant and the claimants, such that the defendant should have reasonably foreseen the risk of harm and taken steps to prevent it.
- an employer has a Duty of care to their employees
- a road user has a Duty of Care to other road users
- a doctor has a Duty of Care to his patients
In order to succeed in an injury claim, you will need to establish that:
- the defendant owed you a Duty of Care
- the defendant breached that Duty
- the breach of Duty caused the your injury
If you and your solicitor can establish these points, you may be entitled to claim compensation for any injury or loss you suffered.
In determining whether the defendant had a Duty of Care, a court will consider factors such as the nature of the relationship between you and the defendant, as well as any relevant statutory or common law duty.
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About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.