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When does a breach of duty lead to a personal injury claim?

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2023 | Personal Injury

California personal injury laws allow injured people to file personal injury claims and even pursue lawsuits against the person or entity responsible for causing the injuries. A personal injury claim begins with a duty owed. The duty in question does not require a contract or fiduciary relationship to exist. Every person has a duty to avoid causing harm to others by exercising reasonable care.

Therefore, a breach of duty occurs when someone fails to act as any reasonable person would under the same circumstances. When the breach of duty causes harm to another or damage to another person’s property, it can lead to a personal injury claim.

Understanding the standard of care in a personal injury case

The reasonable person standard is sometimes subjective and is highly dependent on the facts surrounding the case. For example, if someone spills milk on the floor, it is an accident, and they should clean it immediately. Failing to do so could result in a slip-and-fall accident. They breached no duty by spilling the milk.

Once the person who spilled the milk is a property owner who caused someone to fall and sustain injuries, the victim could file a premises liability claim. The property owner breached their duty by failing or neglecting to clean the milk, which is a potential hazard to guests.

By acquiring a driver’s license, the state gives a driver the privilege to operate their vehicle. But accepting this privilege comes with a responsibility to others on the road. Drivers breach their duty to other road users when they violate California’s traffic laws or drive recklessly. When they cause an accident because of the breach, the car accident victims can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against them.

Personal injury lawsuits come in handy in at-fault states like California. Car crash victims can always “pursue a claim for compensation for losses from other motorists whose negligence or wrongdoing was the direct cause of the collision.”

Negligence as a breach of duty

The standard of care comes from the legal theory of negligence. If the person had not been negligent, the accident or event that led to the injuries would not have happened. In short, the injuries are preventable. Personal injury claims hold every person responsible for their actions, encouraging every reasonable person to be more careful.