Breach of Duty

Certain terms have special power in the realm of personal injury law, including “breach of duty.” This integral aspect of a negligence claim serves as the basis for seeking compensation from an at-fault party. An experienced personal injury lawyer can explain the legal concept of breach of duty and how it can impact your case. 

How Breach of Duty Affects Negligence Claims 

How Breach of Duty Affects Negligence Claims 

Breach of duty is one of the four essential elements of a negligence claim. Personal injury victims must prove breach of duty and the other elements by a preponderance of the evidence to win their case. 

Here is more information about each of these legal elements:

Duty of Care

A duty of care is the legal obligation to act or not act in a certain way. For example, motorists must obey the rules of the road

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty occurs when someone fails to meet the duty of care, such as speeding in violation of the rules of the road. 


There must be a causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the accident.  


Damages are the losses the victim suffered because of the accident and injuries, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental distress

If even one of these elements is missing, you cannot recover compensation for your negligence claim. 

Examples of Breach of Duty in a Personal Injury Case

To better understand breach of duty, viewing this concept in light of different contexts is helpful. Here are some examples when a breach of duty may be present in a personal injury case:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many motor vehicle accidents occur when a person drives unsafely by:

  • Speeding
  • Not paying attention
  • Texting while driving
  • Engaging in other distracted driving behaviors
  • Driving after drinking or taking drugs
  • Driving while fatigued 
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Disobeying other traffic laws

When a driver breaches their duty to follow traffic rules and drive safely, they can be held liable for the accidents they cause. 

Construction Accidents

Construction accidents can occur when a property owner, general contractor, or other party responsible for the project:

  • Fails to supervise
  • Hires unqualified workers 
  • Fails to provide necessary PPE, including fall protection
  • Fails to place barriers or warning signs around falling hazards
  • Leaves construction materials, tools, and debris in areas that pose trip-and-fall hazards to workers 

Additionally, architects and engineers have a legal duty to use their knowledge, skills, and education to safely design or advise on the structural integrity of a building. If they fail to uphold these professional standards and someone is injured as a result, they may be responsible for the harm.

Medical Malpractice 

Healthcare professionals are required to provide patients with a level of care that is equal to or exceeds the accepted standard of care. The accepted standard of care is the treatment another healthcare professional in the same specialty area with a similar background would provide under similar circumstances. When a doctor deviates from this standard, and the patient is injured as a result, they can file a medical malpractice claim against the healthcare provider. 

Product Liability 

Those who release products into the open market must ensure that these products are reasonably safe to use. 

Product manufacturers and others involved in the stream of commerce can be held responsible when these products have any of the following defects:

  • Manufacturing defect – A manufacturing defect occurs during the manufacturing process and affects one or more batches of the product.
  • Design defect – A design defect occurs when there is an inherent risk in the safety of the product based on how it was designed. 
  • Warning defect – A warning or advertising defect exists when the consumer is not adequately warned of the risks of using the product.

An experienced product liability lawyer can conduct an investigation to determine how a problem with the product arose and who is responsible. These cases can involve negligence and/or strict liability principles.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Property owners owe a duty to keep their premises in a safe condition to prevent injuries to visitors. 

Visitors may have a claim against them when they are injured by dangerous conditions on the property, such as:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Cracked or broken pavement
  • Missing steps or guardrails
  • Missing tiles
  • Uneven flooring 
  • Cluttered walkways
  • Poor lighting
  • Inadequate security

Ohio also imposes special attractive nuisance laws on property owners to guard against injuries to children. The courts reason that children do not always have a good understanding of potential risks. Thus, property owners can be held liable when a child is injured on their premises under circumstances when the child may have otherwise been considered a trespasser and not subject to legal protection. 

Contact a Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer For Help Proving Your Negligence Claim

If you would like to learn more about breach of duty or how to prove the other elements of your personal injury case, Mani Ellis & Layne Accident & Injury Lawyers can help. Call us today at (614) 587 8423 for a free consultation