What is Duty of Care and How Does It Affect a Personal Injury Claim?

Proving a negligent party owed you a duty of care is the first step in recovering compensation in a personal injury claim.


  • Parties that fail to fulfill their duty of care by recklessly endangering others may be considered liable in civil court.
  • A violation or breach of duty of care can take many forms, including drunk driving, forgoing safe manufacturing practices or property maintenance, or failing to meet the standard of care while administering medical treatment.
  • Accident victims must establish the defendant breached their duty of care, those actions caused the victim’s injuries, and those injuries resulted in damages in order to recover compensation.
  • Experienced personal injury lawyers assist in proving liability, gathering evidence, and negotiating fair settlements for compensatory damages.

Everyone has a legal obligation to act reasonably to avoid causing unnecessary harm to others around them. This legal obligation of reasonable behavior is called duty of care, but not all people adhere to this principle.

Parties that breach their duty of care do so through negligent or reckless behavior that can expose others to harm.

If you were involved in a personal injury accident that caused significant damages, you could hold the at-fault party liable for breaching duty of care through negligence.

At The Eberst Law Firm, our team of personal injury lawyers can help you prove an at-fault party breached their duty of care.

We will work to maximize your compensation for your damages so you can focus on healing. Schedule a free consultation by calling (772) 225-4900 or filling out a contact form today.

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What is Duty of Care?

In personal injury claims, there is a theory of negligence that states parties can be liable for causing harm by acting recklessly in a way that a prudent individual wouldn’t in similar circumstances.

Parties owe others a duty of care, the standard of safe behavior people must exhibit to prevent others from receiving harm.

An example of duty of care would be following road rules when operating a motor vehicle. Operating a motor vehicle unsafely, such as driving drunk, distracted, or recklessly, can expose others to harm.

To prevent a car accident, drivers must follow road rules, pay attention to driving, and operate at the proper speed limit. Safe driving is adhering to the duty of care drivers owe to other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.

How Does Duty of Care Apply to Specific Personal Injury Accidents?

Duty of care applies in every type of personal injury accident. People have a legal responsibility to behave properly and in a way that can keep others safe from harm.

Duty of care can apply differently based on what is considered reasonably safe behavior in that given situation.

The following are some of the ways duty of care can apply in common personal injury accidents.

  • Doctors and healthcare professionals must provide reasonable medical treatment to their patients. They must assess their patient’s injuries properly, administer proper medication and treatment, and only perform surgery if it is safe.
  • Dog owners must ensure their pets do not harm others by biting them. Legally, a pet owner may be strictly liable for damages caused by dog bites.
  • Product manufacturers and designers owe it to consumers to ensure products do not contain design or manufacturing defects that can expose them to harm.
  • Property owners must prevent their properties from having walking hazards without caution signs that can lead to slip-and-fall accidents.
  • Nursing home workers must keep elderly patients safe and ensure they receive the proper care, treatment, and medication.

Breaching Duty of Care Can Leave a Party Liable for Personal Injury Damages

Failing to obey some of the above duties of care can leave parties liable for medical malpractice, dog bite, premises liability, and nursing home abuse claims.

By failing to adhere to their duty, negligent parties can expose others to harm that can lead to severe injuries.

Breaching duty of care is one of the four elements of negligence that can leave a party liable for personal injury damages:

  • The at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care
  • The at-fault party breached the duty of care through negligence or recklessness
  • The breach of duty of care caused a personal injury accident
  • The victim of the personal injury accident suffered damages

Proving Breach of Duty of Care

To recover compensation for personal injury damages, you must be able to gather evidence that proves the four elements of negligence. That includes proving the at-fault party owed you a duty of care and breached it.

Proving a party owed you a duty of care shouldn’t be difficult, as duty of care is legally assumed in most cases. However, proving a breach of duty of care can be challenging for some personal injury victims.

They must be able to find concrete evidence that establishes reckless or negligent behavior that exposed them to harm. Evidence like photographic and video evidence, police reports, medical records, and witness testimonies can help prove liability.

Personal injury accidents may not have the required evidence you need easily accessible. Additionally, your can may include facts that can call into question whether the at-fault party shares liability.

That’s why it’s vital to hire a personal injury lawyer to help prove the at-fault party’s liability.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You Recover Compensatory Damages?

A personal injury lawyer can help you with the process of proving the at-fault party breached a duty of care, causing an accident as a result. They will likely have experience in handling the type of personal injury claim you are filing.

That can maximize your chances of recovering compensatory damages for economic and non-economic losses. This includes medical bills, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering, with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Additionally, they can assess the full cost of your damages, collect evidence, explain your rights, and speak to expert witnesses. Finally, your personal injury attorney will work to negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Contact The Eberst Law Firm for Help With Your Personal Injury Claim

At The Eberst Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers have helped people who suffered financially, physically, and psychologically because of a traumatic personal injury accident.

We can apply our decades of experience to your personal injury claim to help you recover fair compensation for damages.

Our personal injury lawyers can craft a personalized legal counsel plan to maximize your potential for recovering compensatory damages.

Contact us for a free consultation evaluation at (772) 225-4900 or submit a contact form through our website today.

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Attorney Jon Eberst

Attorney Jon Eberst

Jonathan Eberst, the driving force behind The Eberst Law Firm, is known in his community and across Florida for knowledge and skill in the personal injury industry. Respected for his friendly and help attitude, he has consistently helped thousands of clients, ensuring their rights are upheld. Jon's profound expertise makes him a sought-after voice in the legal community, both online and in-person.

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