Negligence and Duty
The concept of duty is inextricably linked with the legal notion of negligence, which is at the heart of every personal injury lawsuit. When we are injured as a result of someone else’s actions, understandably, we expect compensation for our injuries, as we would have never incurred those expenses in the first place if not for the actions of that other person.
The law recognizes this, and the legal concept of negligence was born out of this concept. It reiterates the fact that we have a right as citizens to not be exposed to unnecessary risk to which we have not consented. Risk, unfortunately, is an inherent part of life, as eventually, everyone dies. However, we are able to control the risk that we create for other people, and by the same token, they are unable to control the risk that we create for them. It is this type of risk that must be minimized.
Thus, if you are taking actions that could potentially create a risky situation for others, you have a duty to minimize or eliminate that risk. If you do not, you are behaving negligently. The proof of this comes in whether or not your actions cause harm to someone else. If they do not, you have sufficiently minimized the risk of your actions. If they have, then you have failed to minimize their risk, and may be liable for any expenses related to injuries suffered.