Breach of Duty
The term ‘breach’ can mean a few different things.
In the legal setting, a breach is a violation of a law or legal responsibility. If you have suffered harm due to a breach of duty, then you might be eligible to receive compensation.
If you have legal questions, speak to an experienced attorney for guidance.
What is a Duty?
Before defining breach of duty, it’s necessary to discuss “duty.” A duty is a legal obligation that is imposed on someone by law or custom. A duty usually arises based on someone’s status or activity.
Doctors and lawyers have several duties of responsibility and professionalism arising from professional customs and state licensing boards. Manufacturers of products and construction companies have duties of care imposed on them because of the potential dangerousness of their products or buildings.
A common duty that regular people have is to drive responsibly and obey traffic laws. All drivers (licensed or not) have a duty of care towards others on the road.
If you suffer injuries in a car accident, you will have to prove the at-fault driver breached their duty to drive carefully. The first step in doing that is to demonstrate that the defendant had some sort of duty to you and breached that duty.
How a Breach of Duty Occurs in a Negligence Case
In a negligence case, you must first show that you are owed a duty of care from someone else. Common negligence claims include car accidents, slip and falls, and property damage claims. Medical malpractice by doctors or other medical professionals can also result in a negligence claim.
In a personal injury case, you will need to prove that:
- The defendant owed you a duty
- The defendant breached their duty
- The defendant caused your injuries
- You suffered damages
Negligence cases require that you show that the defendant did something to cause your harm or injuries directly.
To establish breach, you will need to prove the defendant did or didn’t do something that a reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances. The reasonable person is not a real person. It is a hypothetical person who exercises common sense and avoids unreasonable risks that could harm other people.
A judge or jury will measure a defendant’s actions against those a reasonable person to determine whether they breached their duty to you. If the defendant had a duty of care and caused your injuries by failing to exercise reasonable care, they will likely be liable for your damages.
Negligence per se
An injury victim can also establish breach using negligence per se. A person who violated a statute or law and caused injury has automatically breached their duty of care and is therefore negligent.
Typically, a personal injury victim must prove the defendant violated a safety regulation or statute, that the law was designed to protect persons like the plaintiff, and the law was meant to guard against the injury the plaintiff suffered.
For example, a defendant who speeds violates traffic laws. Speeding laws were designed to protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists from bodily injury. If a speeding defendant crashes into another car and causes the driver injury, they were negligent per se.
Examples of A Breach a Duty
A duty can be breached in many ways. Some examples include:
- If a doctor’s performance does not meet a minimum required standard of care, then that doctor may have breached their duty to their patient.
- If a lawyer tells another a client’s secrets, then that lawyer may have breached their duty of confidentiality.
- If a driver causes an accident while drunk or because they were speeding, then that driver may have breached their duty of care towards other drivers.
- If a company manufactures a defective product that causes an injury, then that company may have breached its duty of care to its customers.
These are just a few general examples of how a legal duty can be breached. Make sure you have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney to determine if a breach of duty has occurred.
Get a Free Consultation Today to Have Your Questions Answered
If you have been harmed because of a breach of duty, you should speak to an experienced attorney as quickly as possible. It is important to understand what compensation you are eligible for. Don’t leave money on the table.
We offer a free consultation so you can have your case looked at by an experienced professional.