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Who is Legally Responsible When Duty of Care isn’t Met?

To receive compensation for injuries or malpractices from individuals or organizations, your personal injury lawyer in Calgary will have to prove negligence, and particularly, that the duty of care owed to you was violated. 

To fully understand what duty of care is, who is responsible for it, and how to build a case, it is essential to know the finer details of this law and its particular responsibilities. 

What is Duty of Care? 

According to the Canadian Public Health Association, a duty of care is the “responsibility or legal obligation of a person or organization to avoid acts or omissions that could likely cause harm to others.” While the law itself is similar from country to country, in Canadian tort law, a duty of care requires a relationship of sufficient proximity. 

“Sufficient proximity” means that there must be a relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant, where the accused failed to provide reasonable care, resulting in loss or harm to the plaintiff. 

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The legally responsible party, though, ranges depending on the circumstances and the situation. Individuals unwilling enter social contracts when agreeing to purchase items, living in properties or working on site. There are also specific laws where a duty of care is mandatory, particularly in relation to medical and legal matters. 

Examples of Who is Legally Responsible When Duty of Care isn’t Met

Property & Business Owners 

Those who run a business, purchase or rent a home have a duty of care to ensure that anyone who enters their property is safe from any reasonably foreseen dangers. An example would be a department store where there is a slippery floor, where a customer can potentially slip. It’s their responsibility to ensure that their store is safe for everyone. 

There is also a duty of care when it comes to employee relationships. Businesses have a legal right to ensure that employees are safe while working on the premises, especially if the job at hand is considered dangerous. 


Manufacturers owe a duty of care to those who buy their products. It’s why products have safety instructions on it, but also why they have to ensure that their products are not faulty. If someone was injured using a tool because it was defective, the manufacturer is liable. It’s why companies organize recalls for damaged products, as they want to avoid legal issues. 

Medical Duty of Care

A gray area for Calgary personal injury lawyers, a medical duty of care refers to a doctor’s duty of care to his patient – when he is considered legally responsible for them. That includes medical advice, operations and anything where the doctor is the prime carer for the patient. Once the doctor initiates a relationship with that person, he owes a medical duty of care to act in a manner that another doctor would act in similar circumstances.

In some cases, it is the hospital at fault, as they are the company that hired the doctor, and therefore, agrees to supervise their actions. 

Legal Duty of Care

Personal injury lawyers themselves can be sued for legal malpractice and breaking their duty of care towards their clients. Similar to a medical duty of care, lawyers are obligated to provide their clients with the best legal representation possible when defending their client’s case. If the attorney proves to be negligent in their duty of care, such as providing wrong advice or not living up to legal standards when defending their clients, they can be deemed to have broken their contract. 

Filing for Breach of DOC

It can be difficult, but not impossible to prove that the duty of care was breached. 

However, it is not enough to prove to the court that there was a duty owed to you by the defendant – you must also show that the duty was breached and caused your damages. Known as causation, your personal injury lawyer must provide a link between the breach and the losses you’ve experienced. 

Only with substantial proof, such as testimonials and records, can you prove a breach of duty of care and be entitled to compensation. 

If you need help collecting compensation for an injury you’ve suffered, be sure to contact Edwards Injury Law. Edwards Injury Law has successfully fought for the injured for over 25 years. Move forward with dedicated help from a personal injury lawyer, contact us today if you or someone you know has been in an accident or injured.