Everyone has a legal duty to act in a manner that doesn't endanger other people's safety. This is known as the duty of care. If someone acts without considering other people's safety, the person is said to have breached their duty of care. Such a person might be held liable for whatever the breach of duty might cause.
Examples of Duties of Care
Driving is a classic example of an activity that requires a duty of care to others. Each motorist should drive in a manner that doesn't endanger other road users. This includes driving in the right lane, signaling before turns, and not exceeding speed limits. A motorist breaches their duty of care if they don't do any of these things.
Medical treatment is another example where a disregard for a duty of care can lead to serious injuries. For example, your physician has a duty of care to offer you the best treatment possible without endangering your life further. The physician breaches their duty of care if they, say, prescribe the wrong medicine for you.
Levels of Duty of Care
There are different levels of duty of care depending on the relationship between the parties involved. For example, the owner of a shopping mall doesn't owe the same level of duty of care to everyone who visits the shopping mall. The relationship between the mall owner and the visitors determines the applicable level of duty of care.
The mall owes the highest duty of care to mall visitors who are there to shop. These are invitees who intend to give the mall business. The mall owner must ensure that everything is safe for the invitees and warn the invitees if there is any danger on the property.
The mall owner owes the second highest duty of care to the licensees. These are people who are not necessarily on the premises to shop but are legally permitted to be on the premises. Examples are salespersons seeking to do business with the shopping mall. Even though the mall owner must ensure their premises is safe for licensees, the mall owner is not required to go out of their way to ensure the licensees' safety as they are for invitees.
The mall owner owes the lowest duty of care to those who are illegally on their premises, such as trespassers. The mall owner doesn't have to ensure their premises is safe for trespassers. It is enough for the mall owner to avoid intentionally injuring trespassers.
For more information about this topic, speak to personal injury lawyers.