Stephen Hasner | Personal Injury | July 14, 2023
One critical aspect that holds immense significance in personal injury cases is the concept of “duty of care.” Whether it is a car accident, a slip and fall incident, or medical malpractice, establishing duty of care is essential for pursuing a successful personal injury claim.
At Hasner Law, our widespread legal knowledge and extensive personal injury claim experience means we understand the concept of duty of care inside and out. If you or someone you care about has suffered a personal injury in Georgia, our team can help you establish duty of care in order to support your claim.
What Is Duty of Care in a Personal Injury Case?
When individuals or organizations owe a legal obligation to act in a manner that prevents harm to others, it is legally known as a “duty of care.” It is the cornerstone of personal injury claims and necessitates demonstrating that the defendant had a legal duty to act reasonably under the circumstances, thereby ensuring the safety of others.
For instance, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles responsibly and follow traffic laws, while property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition. The breach of this duty can lead to severe consequences and is often a determining factor in personal injury cases.
How to Establish Duty of Care
To succeed in a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. Breach of duty occurs when the defendant’s actions or failure to act falls short of the standard of care expected in the given situation. This breach of duty must directly result in harm or injury to the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must demonstrate a causal link between the defendant’s negligence and the injuries sustained.
To establish duty of care, various factors come into play, including:
- Reasonable person standard: The plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to act as a reasonable person would have under similar circumstances. This involves considering factors such as the defendant’s knowledge, experience, and the potential risks involved.
- Foreseeability: It is essential to establish that the defendant could reasonably foresee that their actions or inactions could cause harm to others. If the harm was not foreseeable, the defendant may not be held liable.
- Legal standards and regulations: Certain professions and industries have specific legal standards and regulations that establish the duty of care expected from individuals within those fields. Failure to adhere to these standards may constitute a breach of duty.
- Expert testimony: In some cases, expert witnesses may be necessary to help establish the standard of care. These professionals can provide opinions on whether the defendant’s actions met the expected standard of care in a particular situation.
These elements collectively contribute to proving that the defendant failed to meet the expected standard of care and directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries or damages.
Why Is Duty of Care Vital?
Establishing duty of care is crucial because it forms the basis for evaluating the defendant’s liability. If the plaintiff can demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty of care, it strengthens their case. It shows that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the injuries or damages suffered by the plaintiff.
Moreover, duty of care also impacts the determination of compensation. The severity of injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages are assessed based on the extent to which the defendant’s breach of duty contributed to the harm suffered.
Establish Duty of Care With a Qualified Georgia Personal Injury Attorney
If you find yourself in a situation where you have sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligence, it is vital to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. A Hasner Law personal injury lawyer can guide you through the complexities of duty of care, help you build a strong case, and ensure that your rights are vigorously advocated for.