Two Ways Duty Of Care Impacts Your Personal Injury Case
In personal injury cases, courts often require plaintiffs to show defendants had a duty of care, i.e. they were obligated to prevent accidents and injuries and that they failed to do so. However, establishing this is not always simple or easy. Here's a deep dive into this issue to help you better understand it so you can make a case for compensation.
You Must Show Defendant Was Obligated to Take Care
The central tenet of the duty of care requirement is the defendant was obligated to keep people from getting hurt. However, the circumstances surrounding the incident greatly determine whether this obligation exists or not.
In fact, the same set of circumstances can produce vastly different levels of responsibility depending on who the victim is because the court takes into account whether the person was supposed to be in the area where the incident took place.
For example, a store has a room set aside for use by employees only. The company would be liable for paying for a worker's injuries if the person walked into the room and slipped on a wet floor that wasn't adequately marked.
However, the same can't be said if it happens to a customer who entered the space without permission. Since the room is strictly for employees only, the store has no obligation to ensure it is safe for regular customers. Thus, it's unlikely the customer would win a personal injury case against the company.
It's important you provide your attorney with as much detail as possible about the circumstances surrounding the incident, so they can adequately gauge the defendant's liability for your injuries.
Must Demonstrate The Defendant Didn't Take Reasonable Care
Accidents can still occur despite any precautions that may be taken to prevent them. To prevail in your case, therefore, you must show the defendant didn't take reasonable care to avoid causing your injury.
For instance, a homeowner has a pool in their backyard. They fail to install a fence around the pool and a child falls in and drowns. Although the child may not have been invited onto the property, the homeowners would still be liable for damages because they didn't take reasonable precautions to prevent kids from accessing their pool.
It can be apparent when defendants don't do enough to avoid causing harm, but sometimes there are nuances and subtleties that could make it difficult for a judge to definitively determine that the defendant was in the wrong. Thus, it's best to work with a lawyer who can review the case and let you know where the defendant went wrong and what you can do to prove it.
For help with your personal injury case, contact a personal injury attorney.