If a loved one dies due to a fatal accident or deliberate act on the part of others, you may sue for damages as the executor of their estate. One of the most common causes of wrongful death is a breach of duty by another. But what is a breach of duty, and how does it apply to your wrongful death case? Read on for more information.
What Is Duty Of Care?
Everyone has a legal duty to act responsibly and avoid hurting other people. The law requires everyone to use reasonable care to avoid hurting others. If a person fails to meet or breaches this duty, they are liable or at fault for the injuries or death sustained by the victim.
Duty of care is one of the leading principles in personal injury law and applies in most situations. To allege a duty of care violation, there are three criteria. These are:
- Foreseeable harm as a result of the defendant's actions
- Proximity relationship between the defendant and the claimant
- Fair, just, and reasonable imposition of liability
In some cases, there is even a higher duty of care. For example, people or businesses who provide public transportation have a higher duty of care than the average driver.
A recent court ruled people working as ride-share drivers are now viewed as "common carriers" and have the same higher duty of care that applies to taxi drivers. This higher duty of care means that common carrier drivers can be liable for violations or breaches that may not apply to the average driver.
A higher duty of care also applies to some professions, such as doctors and lawyers. Doctors are required to act as a reasonable person would in similar situations. But doctors must also provide levels of care expected from a trained medical professional with similar skills and experience.
How Does Duty of Care Apply To Wrongful Death?
Breaches of duty of care can quickly become a medical malpractice case or a wrongful death lawsuit if a doctor is involved. Still, anyone can be liable for violating this duty. To win a wrongful death lawsuit, you and your attorney must show four things. These are as follows:
- Breach of duty of care
- Negligence on the part of the defendant
- Negligence as causation
- Quantifiable damages
Wrongful death lawsuits can be complex and complicated, and not every negligent death qualifies. Contact a wrongful death attorney for more advice.