Duty Of Care Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Duty Of Care, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Duty Of Care?

n. Obligation that a sensible person would use in the circumstances when acting towards others and the public. If the actions of a person are not made with watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence, their actions are considered negligent. Consequently, the resulting damages may be claimed as negligence in a lawsuit.

History and Meaning of Duty Of Care

The duty of care is a legal concept that requires individuals or organizations to take reasonable steps in avoiding actions or omissions that could reasonably cause harm to others. This concept was first established in 1932 in the 'Donoghue v Stevenson' case in the UK, which set a precedent for the legal principle that people must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions that they can reasonably foresee could injure their neighbor. This principle has been adopted in many common law jurisdictions worldwide.

Examples of Duty Of Care

  1. In the medical field, doctors have a duty of care towards their patients to provide treatment that meets a certain standard of care.
  2. Employers have a duty of care towards their employees to provide a safe working environment and to minimize any risks of injury.
  3. Property owners must take reasonable steps to ensure that their premises are safe for visitors and occupants, such as fixing any hazards and providing adequate security measures.

Legal Terms Similar to Duty Of Care

  1. Negligence: failure to take reasonable care in avoiding harm or injury to others.
  2. Breach of duty: failing to meet the standard of care required by law, resulting in harm to others.
  3. Standard of care: the level of care expected of individuals or organizations in fulfilling their duty of care obligations.