Duty of Care: Civil Code 1714 in California

Injury Attorneys in California Discussing Duty of Care

civil code 1714

What is a “duty of care,” and when do people in California need to exercise a duty of care? There are numerous situations in which a variety of California laws require individuals to exercise a particular duty of care.

For example, anytime you drive on the roads in California, you are required to exercise a reasonable duty of care to other drivers and passengers to avoid a car accident.

Similarly, whenever you own or control property, you must exercise a duty of care to ensure that people on your property are not subject to unreasonable risks or hazards.

In short, a “duty of care” refers to scenarios in which a person must exercise a reasonable level of care toward other persons in order to prevent accidents and injuries.

How does this duty of care arise under California law?

Under California Civil Code 1714, a duty of care is one of the obligations imposed by law. We want to say more about how obligations imposed by California law result in the idea that individuals owe one another a duty of care.

In addition, we want to provide you with more information about how the duty of care—and breaches of the duty of care—can result in personal injury lawsuits when an accident or injury happens in California.

How California Law Conceives of a “Duty of Care” Owed to Others

California Civil Code Section 1714 defines the obligations imposed on individuals in California under the law. However, as you may observe, an “obligation” is distinct from a “duty of care.”

Howe, then, does California law concerning obligations translate into a duty of care?

To explain how this works, we want to provide you with some of the text in Section 1714 of the California Civil Code. The text says in part that everyone is responsible for an injury sustained to another by his or her lack of ordinary care in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has brought the injury upon himself or herself.

As you can see, this particular section of California law makes clear that an individual is responsible for injuries sustained by someone else due to “his or her want of ordinary care.”

To put that another way, if a person fails to use ordinary care and someone gets hurt, then the person who failed to use ordinary care can be responsible for injuries.

Accordingly, the law allows us to make the assumption that we owe an ordinary (or reasonable) duty of care to others given that we can be held liable if an injury happens due to our failure to use ordinary (or reasonable) care.

Examples of Duties of Care in California

When does a person owe another a duty to exercise ordinary or reasonable care? There are numerous situations where you owe other people a duty of care, including some of those we already have mentioned.

The following is a list of some examples of the duties of care that individuals owe to one another in California:

  • A Property owner has a duty to maintain safe premises or to warn about known hazards in order to prevent an accident, including a slip, trip or fall accident that could result in a premises liability claim;
  • Motorists have a duty to obey all traffic rules and regulations to avoid causing traffic collisions in which another person could get hurt (such as the occupant of another vehicle, or a pedestrian or bicyclist);
  • Healthcare providers owe a duty of care to patients and must provide care that conforms with standards in their particular medical field and geographic area; and
  • Employers have a duty to carefully conduct background checks to avoid hiring an employee who could cause harm to other co-workers or to customers.

The law also imposes a duty of care in numerous other situations. If you have questions, it is important to speak with an experienced California injury attorney.

Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney Today

In many cases where another party has breached his or her duty of care and another person got hurt, that injured person may be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation.

Most of these cases are based on a theory of negligence, meaning that the defendant’s careless behavior or omission resulted in harm to another person.

You should reach out to a California personal injury lawyer with your questions and concerns. An advocate at our firm can discuss your options for filing a claim.

Contact Starpoint Law today for more information about how we can assist you.