Legal systems are critical to the functionality of any given society. In particular, issues of duty and responsibility are fundamental to address especially when one party causes harm or injury to another. In this respect, the concept of duty of care and its connection to negligence serve a key role in the society. Tort law provides for legal processes following acts of negligence that exhibit duty of care. The underlying liability in negligence, however, is limited because duty of care must be justified before the courts.
Acts of negligence could result in many different forms of harm or injury. Under the common law, acts of negligence could result in physical injury, psychological harm or economic loss. These outcomes equate to a given level of liability by the defendant to the claimant. In order to hold the defendant liable for negligence, however, the claimant has to meet the court’s threshold as far as justifying duty of care is concerned. Failure to evidence duty of care subsequently results in the collapse of the case.
Duty of care is a legal obligation that is highly influenced by the relationship between the defendant and the claimant. In other words, both parties must exhibit a given and acceptable form of relationship under the relevant legal provisions. The relationship between the defendant and the claimant forms the basis of the aforementioned legal obligation.
Legal provisions for negligence under tort law hold duty of care as the first and critical element that evidences negligence. Although there are two other elements in that regard, duty of care forms the primary basis of pursuing negligence cases. In this respect, the concept of duty of care is critical to the activities and operations of any court that deals with negligence cases. Notably, this concept is influential to courts in limiting liability in negligence.
Over the years, tort law has evolved to become more sophisticated. In the same regard, courts have found ways to limit liability in negligence especially under the concept of duty of care. Justifying the defendant’s liability to the plaintiff is a critical process. The first aspect of duty of care that courts use to limit liability in negligence is assessing how the duty of care is established. The establishment of duty of care brings into perspective the relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff.
In order to evidence negligence, the claimant must demonstrate the defendant’s obligation in the case. The existence of some form of obligation means that the parties involved in the case must have interacted in one way or another. Moreover, such an interaction must demonstrate that the defendant failed to observe his/her duty of care, subsequently harming, injuring or causing loss to the claimant.
While interaction, obligation and duty of care are relatively easy to address, the courts make this process difficult because both the law and the court must recognise the relationships therein. One of the ways...