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Establishing a duty of care

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2021 | Personal Injury

In order to prove negligence, parties need to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care and that this duty was breached, causing the plaintiff’s injuries. Individuals in California and other jurisdictions should keep some things in mind when trying to prove duty of care in a negligence case.

Reasonably prudent person

When establishing a duty of care, the baseline is the reasonably prudent person standard. People have a duty to act as a reasonably prudent person and use reasonable efforts to avoid injury to others. A judge or jury will ultimately decide if the defendant acted as a reasonably prudent person in a given situation, and an experienced personal injury lawyer may have a good idea if this standard was not met in a given circumstance.

Violating statutes

Statutes can establish a duty of care, and the breach of such laws can form the basis of a negligence claim. In order for a statute to form the basis for a negligence claim, the law needs to be designed to protect individuals like the plaintiff in a lawsuit. It is important to note that local ordinances and other rules can also form the basis for a negligence claim.

Judged against similar people

When evaluating the duty of care, defendants are judged against individuals who have the same limitations. For instance, people with a physical limitation are judged against individuals with that limitation. Moreover, children are also judged based on what children would do and are not held accountable to an adult standard of care.

Special relationships

In certain instances, defendants may have a heightened duty of care based on the relationship they have with a plaintiff. This includes transportation companies, educators, caregivers and others.

If you believe that a duty of care was breached and caused injuries, it is important to contact counsel to preserve your rights. An attorney may help you gather and present evidence that you were owed a duty of care and that failing to uphold it directly caused your losses.


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