People can file a personal injury insurance claim when they suffer physical, emotional, or financial harm because of someone else’s negligence. Most personal injury claims are built on the idea of negligence. The concept is built on the idea that someone’s behavior was the direct or proximate cause of the person’s injury and other related losses. However, to build a case on the theory of negligence, first, a duty of care must be established.
What Is Duty of Care in a Personal Injury Case?
Duty of care refers to the idea that people and entities owe each other a legal obligation to prevent harming someone. The concept of duty of care creates a legal agreement for someone to act in a reasonable manner to avoid causing harm to others. In Colorado, reasonable care is defined as the “degree of care that a reasonable person would use under the same circumstances.” Common examples of “duty of care” include:
- A dog owner has a duty to keep their dog from harming someone.
- A driver has a duty to be careful, follow traffic laws, and prevent harming others on the road.
- A doctor has a duty and legal oath to prevent harming their patients.
- A property owner (private, commercial, and public) has a duty to maintain their premises safe for potential visitors.
- A product manufacturer, distributor, or seller has a duty to ensure their products are reasonably safe for consumers.
There are two main principles of duty of care:
- People must act reasonably and cautiously to avoid harming someone.
- When they fail to act in a way that prevents harm, they are legally liable for the results of their actions or inaction.
Each person or entity in society must behave in a way to prevent harming others. Under the idea of a duty of care, individuals can’t act in a manner that creates an unreasonable risk of harming others.
Why Is Duty of Care so Important in a Personal Injury Case?
Duty of care is the foundation that links the defendant and the claimant. Without this link, the claimant likely doesn’t have a valid case. Duty of care forms the basis of a personal injury claim. This legal obligation of duty of care holds the defendant legally responsible for their actions. The reason duty of care is so essential to a personal injury case is that it can be extremely challenging to prove negligence without it. Proving negligence requires establishing there was a breach of duty of care. Breach of duty refers to the defendant’s negligent actions that caused the claimant’s injury.
Negligence is when someone is reckless, careless, or malicious, and those behaviors result in an accident or incident that causes a person physical, emotional, or financial harm. Common examples of negligence include:
- Drunk driving
- Not putting out a wet floor sign
- Failing to follow proper medical procedures
- Dog owners walking a dog they know to be aggressive without a leash
Establishing a duty of care and proving negligence can be challenging and is often very different from case to case. Make sure you understand your rights and legal options by contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can assess your case, determine its validity, and point in the right direction to help you obtain maximum compensation.
Contact an Experienced Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The personal injury lawyers at Mintz Law Firm know what it takes to build a strong claim and have the resources to obtain the necessary evidence to support your claim. We clearly understand how to establish the duty of care to ensure you can hold the party responsible for injuries liable.