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Breach: When A Duty is Violated

  • By:John Vitola

When a defendant’s conduct fall short of the level of care required by their duty to the plaintiff, the defendant is in breach of their duty. This is typically obvious in car accident situations. If a defendant was speeding when they hit another vehicle, the defendant will have breached their duty. This is also the case when a defendant runs a red light and hits another vehicle. Drivers, as we mentioned in the previous blog, have a duty to other drivers to drive safely and carefully. Any time a driver fails to drive safely, they will be breaching the duty they have the other drivers. Additionally, a plaintiff will have satisfied two of the four necessary elements to prove a negligence claim against the defendant.

Example 1:

While duty and breach are straightforward as they relate to car accidents, they can be quite different in other situations. For example, there are particular standards of conduct that doctors must follow and if they are not followed, they could be found to have breached. More specifically, a doctor, or any member of a professional field, must possess the knowledge and skill of a member of the profession or occupation in good standing. If a doctor does not meet this threshold of knowledge, then they may have breached their duty to their patients.

Example 2:

Another example of this is the standard of care for children. Children are held to a different standard because the normal standard of care courts use to determine whether there is a breach is based on what an adult would find reasonable. When children are considered in negligence actions for torts, they are compared to what a reasonable child of their age, education, intelligence, and experience would do. However, children that are involved in potentially dangerous adult activities may be held to an “adult” standard of care. As a result of this different standard of care for children, it may be somewhat more difficult to prove that a child breached their duty because children are not expected to be as careful as adults.

Breach and duty are complimentary elements of negligence and having a thorough understanding of these elements can help you better understand the different aspects of your case. If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident, please call John today at 352-796-1390.

Posted in: Personal Injury Law

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