Tort Components: Duty

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Modified on 2009/10/14 21:36 by admin
How do you tell if someone or some company owes you a duty to act in a responsible manner? In a general sense, no matter what activity a person participates in, that person owes a duty to act as a reasonable and prudent person would act if that reasonable and prudent person were in a similar position. Well, what exactly does that mean?

In everyday situations, common sense typically tells us how to behave and handle ourselves. Our common sense tells us what duties we owe to our fellow humans; we have a duty to behave responsibly. However, in certain situations, ones in which everyday people do not typically find themselves in, the duty is more difficult to define. For instance, while we all know that we have a duty to drive our cars with care, it is not so clear what duty a surgeon owes to his patient in the operating room. That is, it is not within the common understanding of non-medically trained individuals what a reasonable doctor is or is not supposed to do. In such specialized situations, the professional (i.e., doctor, lawyer, airplane pilot, or any other person with special training beyond that of the average person) will be held to a "standard of care," or a duty, which is measured, not by what the untrained person thinks is reasonable, (because the untrained person really has no idea, it is not within their common sense) but instead by what other professionals would do in similar situations. There are different types of duties depending on the characteristics of the situation.

See Also

  1. About Personal InjuryTorts
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