Duty of care is a phrase used within personal injury law that communicates the concept of responsibility. This responsibility is to behave in a way that does not actively, or indirectly harm other individuals. Duty of care is always active; that is, every individual must be responsible for their own actions in settings that could possibly put others at risk. In Nevada, duty of care applies to the following specific contexts.
Examples of Duty of Care
- Obeying traffic laws – This includes obeying all traffic signals and signs and taking care not to cause injury to others on the road.
- Selling well-tested, safe consumer products and/or services
- Maintaining a safe premise when conducting business and/or allowing recreational activities (ex. swimming) on the property
- Not publishing defamation or slander
- Maintaining safe practice while babysitting
Nevada defines duty of care as a statewide, legal obligation that requires individuals to take responsibility for any injury that results from their negligent action. Duty of care does not apply to circumstances in which the law does not deem an individual responsible for the other party. For instance, thieves are not protected under duty of care when injured on the victim’s premises, a local premises liability attorney can help you if you were injured on someone else’s property.
Nevada Negligence Laws
Duty of care is most often related to negligence – not a direct act of aggression or malintent by the responsible party. Negligence occurs when an individual neglects to take others’ safety into consideration while conducting business. According to negligence law, several factors must be in place for a court to rule an individual as negligent:
- The accused party must have owed a duty of care to the claimant. For instance, a swimming facility has a duty to post public signage indicating the dangers of using their pool.
- The accused party did not meet this duty of care. The claimant must prove that there was flaw in the defendant’s duty of care – for instance, a swimming facility neglected to provide viable warnings and guidelines for safe pool usage.
- This breach in duty solely caused the claimant’s injury. The claimant must prove that this negligence directly resulted in their injury. This could involve taking pictures of the facility to prove their lack of signage.
- The claimant has been injured. They must provide proof of damage, typically via medical bills and/or records.
Nevada’s negligence laws are determined by the civil justice system that the claimant files under. However, Nevada state exercises a doctrine called contributory negligence. Contributory negligence refers to the ability of the court to split liability fault between both parties. This is dependent on the details of the incident. If a claimant is found to be more at-fault than the defendant, the court will not award compensation for their damage. Speak to an experienced Las Vegas injury attorney if you have additional questions regarding your damages.
Can Duty of Care Be Waived?
The court can rule an individual’s duty of care as null under several contexts.
- Assumption of risk – Contexts where potential for injury is assumed, like taking part in contact sports, removes a party’s duty of care if injury occurs.
- Waiver of liability – If the claimant signed a waiver of liability provided by the defendant, they assume responsibility for their own injury.
- Violation of law – If injury occurs while breaking the law, duty of care is void.
- Justification – In some cases, duty of care can be waived based on context. Swerving to avoid children that run into the street and crashing into another car is not the same as negligent driving.
Nevada law puts duty of care into play to protect those who have been injured through negligence. In personal injury law, negligence is a valid, provable reason for pressing charges against another party when injury is involved. On the flip side, Nevada law prevents injured parties from taking advantage of potential defendants through their contextual stipulations that nullify duty of care. With this system in place, the court effectively addresses personal injury lawsuits in a fair manner.