Duty Of Care
The “Duty of Care” is the responsibility of one party to act in a certain way towards another party. This could be a direct responsibility like a parent feeding a child. It could also be slightly more indirect like the responsibility of a driver to only go 25 mph down a residential street. Basically, somebody was supposed to be acting in a certain fashion due to certain circumstances. Step one to proving that someone was negligent involves establishing this responsibility; this duty.
After proving that the offending party had “duty of care”, step two to proving negligence is proving a breach of that duty. To copy the examples above, a driver going 50 mph down the street would breach the duty of care. If they hit a pedestrian or another vehicle as a result, we would have both duty of care and the breach of it on our way to proving negligence.
So somebody had a responsibility and didn’t live up to it? So what? Step three of proving negligence is showing that the breach of duty was actually the cause of an injury or accident or whatever brought us to this courtroom in the first place. Maybe the speed of the car prevented the driver from stopping in time at a crosswalk or a stop sign. If the victim can prove that the car accident resulting from our driver going 50 mph, that’s three of our four steps.
Finally, we’ve come to the last step. After proving all of the above, the victim must show that monetary compensation can solve the problem caused by the breach of duty. This could include all of the surgeries necessary after being hit at a crosswalk, or the bill at the auto shop after getting T-Boned. If a strong enough case can be made for this and the three above, you’ve got them on being negligent.
The four parts are pretty closely linked. It’s a very “if A, then B. If B, then C…” kind of thing. That’s how the law works, though. Or at least should work, in my opinion. It’s a logical step-by-step process showing that the offending party had a responsibility, failed it, caused harm, and could fix it with reparations. Clean and simple…theoretically.
Things can get pretty complicated when it gets down to proving the details, but that’s why we’re here! If Law were easy, who would need lawyers? If anything happens this winter and you need legal counsel, get in touch with us! At Post Falls Law we care about our clients and want to help however we can.
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