The Dalai Lama was once quoted saying:
“If you shift your focus from yourself to others, extend your concern to others, and cultivate the thought of caring for the well being of others, then this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out”.
When we speak of what a duty of care is, it is surprisingly similar to what the revered Dalai Lama was trying to put across here that we should make sure to show care and attention for everyone around us. It may not be the dictionary definition for duty of care, but it definitely puts us on the right track.
Your duty defined
A duty of care is what we owe to anyone we interact with, in any guise of life. We owe a duty of care to our fellow drivers, our fellow employees, our fellow human beings. Before we go into any detail, let’s take a look at some definitions on a duty of care:
A “duty of care” is:
“a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could cause foreseeable harm to others” – Wikipedia
“the legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities” – Collins dictionary
“a requirement that a person act towards others and the public with watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would” – Legal dictionary
From the above we can see that a duty of care is owed by any and all people who have some relationship to another person in any form. This includes professional working relationships and special relationships, like using roads, being in the same room or walking on the same pavement.
Relationships in a duty of care do not just extend to a traditional relationship, as soon as you come into contact with somebody else, you will owe them a duty of care. In the simplest sense, for example, we would owe everybody we walk past a duty of care not to flail our arms while walking, as it could cause injury. The same applies while driving to not break the law and drive dangerously, as that could also cause serious injury.
Breaching your duty
How do you breach your duty and what happens following one? Simple, you are in breach if you do not uphold the behaviour, care and attention that would be expected in any given situation; situations such as:
• Being hit by somebody driving erratically, causing a collision
• Your employer having you perform a task, risking injury due to improper PPE, prior training or an unsafe working environment
• Being injured and trusting your health to a medical practitioner, your condition then worsens due to their misjudgement
Doctors owe a professional duty of care to take care of their patients
You are owed a duty to be treated in a safe manner in all aspects of life. Failing to do so could allow you to claim on a serious injury if the actions caused by another are seen to be negligent. You can see many examples of this by viewing our case studies to see the result of a duty breached.
Aftermath of a breach
An incident caused by negligence can result in severe injuries. Back in 2013, 69% of fatal road traffic accidents were the result of negligent driver errors; alongside that 66% of serious incidents also involved that same contributory factor. Our duties are not restricted to the road however; they also count at work and during our everyday lives.
Having dealt with serious injury cases for over 20 years we understand the devastating effect that negligent behaviour can have on a person and their family. Rehabilitation, physiotherapy and psychotherapy from the most serious incidents can take many months or years to recover from.
Sincere Law will always strive to help you or your loved one not only recover, but to get back to as normal a life as possible, following serious injury.
If you or a family member have been affected by someone else’s negligent actions, please get in touch on 0800 092 2896 to speak to one of our friendly advisers or contact us at www.sincerelaw.co.uk. All of our solicitors work on a no win, no fee basis, meaning you get free impartial advice with no commitment and no payments to make if we aren’t successful.