When it comes to compensation claims, these three short words are hugely important. We’ll look in more detail at what the phrase means, and why it’s so significant, but let’s start with a short, clear definition.
In law, Duty of Care describes the obligation of a business, or goods provider, to keep their employees and consumers safe from harm. It is not something that can be opted out of.
If this Duty of Care is breached, it can be legally be considered negligence.
If you suffer an injury or illness as a result, the business or provider can be found liable and you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Table of contents
- When does Duty of Care apply to a compensation case?
- Duty of Care at work
- When receiving medical treatment
- When in a shop
- When using a product
- In a café, restaurant, hotel or other hospitality business
- At a school or university
- As a road-user or pedestrian
- On public transport
- How much compensation could I be due?
- What if I can’t prove that a third party was at fault?
- Let us help
- Your questions answered
When does Duty of Care apply to a compensation case?
If you’ve been harmed, and you believe someone else’s negligence is the reason why, two key things need to be proved.
- The other party owed you a Duty of Care.
- The other party failed to take reasonable steps to fulfil that duty, resulting in you being physically or psychologically harmed.
This outcome, of course, can apply to a vast range of different settings and incidents. At Direct2Compensation we deal with a large number of valid compensation cases. Here are some of the most common scenarios we handle.
Duty of Care at work
All employers have a Duty of Care to their employees. By law, they should take all reasonable steps to keep you from harm’s way.
This means they should be undertaking things such as staff inductions, effective training, regular risk assessments, and the provision of the correct PPE and a secure environment which is free from avoidable dangers.
The wider implications of Duty of Care, however, often differ from job to job:
- On a construction site, it might include providing appropriate tools and safety equipment, as well as minimising any potential trip/ slip/ accident hazards, or contact with dangerous chemicals.
- In an office, it might include ensuring that all desks and chairs are ergonomically sound, and that relevant health and safety protocols are in place.
- In a restaurant kitchen, it might include making sure that working conditions are safe and hygienic, and that working practices do not put staff at risk.
- On a factory floor, it might include precautions and training around machinery, as well as giving employees sufficient work-breaks.
It’s worth being aware that there’s a difference between an employer’s statutory duties (reasonable steps which should be followed to avoid injuries and accidents) and their absolute duties (non-negotiable absolutes which have to be in place, such as keeping work equipment in safe working order) – although Duty of Care covers both.
When receiving medical treatment
Doctors, nurses and medical professionals – including those in the NHS, as well as private practitioners – all have a clear remit to make sure you’re given the highest standard of care. If you suffer because these standards haven’t been met, perhaps through a misdiagnosis, through harmful advice, or through an avoidable delay in treatment, you may have a case for a medical negligence claim.
When in a shop
Supermarkets and other retail outlets have an obligation to keep their premises safe for customers. Among other things, this includes removing unsafe aisle obstructions, clearing up any liquid spills as soon as possible, using hazard signs when necessary, and ensuring carpets are free of rips and tears that could cause a trip or fall. If you’ve suffered an accident in a supermarket or slipped on a shop floor due to the mistakes or negligence of the traders, you may have a valid claim for compensation.
When using a product
Any product that you buy should be safe for use, and be clearly labelled with warnings of any associated dangers. Manufacturers have an obligation to carry out relevant safety tests on the products they sell. If manufacturers fall short in this Duty of Care, and you come to harm as the result of a faulty or hazardous product, you may have a case for negligence.
In a café, restaurant, hotel or other hospitality business
All hospitality businesses have a Duty of Care to their customers. This covers everything from food hygiene and cleaning procedures to trip and slip hazards.
If the negligent actions of a hospitality business have caused you to be injured or to become unwell, we can offer advice on whether you have a legal right to compensation.
At a school or university
Places of learning are obliged to take all reasonable steps to keep their students and staff safe from harm. This might cover anything from serious bullying and personal safety to fire precautions and First Aid provision. Should you have been unfortunate enough to have come to harm in a place of learning, as a result of the school or university’s negligence, we can help you establish whether you have a claim.
As a road-user or pedestrian
All road-users have a Duty of Care to their fellow road-users. This applies to drivers, cyclists, horse-riders and even pedestrians. If an individual is deemed to have caused an accident through unsafe driving or unsafe behaviour, they could be judged to have failed in their Duty of Care to you and face a road traffic accident claim. This might also apply to a local authority which has neglected to keep roads or pathways in a satisfactory condition.
On public transport
If you’re injured on a train, bus, tram or ferry, and the cause can be attributed to the actions of the transport provider, you may have a claim for compensation. This could relate to negligent driving, dangerous on-board conditions, or even a mechanical malfunction.
No matter what the scenario you find yourself in, and whether it’s listed above or not, we’re always happy to talk things through. If we feel you have a case for a claim, we’ll work to secure you the level of compensation you’re entitled to.
How much compensation could I be due?
This would depend on a number of different factors, including the nature of the accident and the long-term impact of the injury or illness. In the first instance, we would advise you to get in touch to discuss your situation. We operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, and have many years of experience in compensation claims.
What if I can’t prove that a third party was at fault?
If a harmful incident was caused by something other than a third party’s negligence, it can sometimes be possible to claim compensation through other means. We’ll always give you fair and truthful advice as to whether you’re likely to have a claim.
Let us help
Might you be in a position to make a negligence claim for Duty of Care? You’re in safe hands with Direct2Compensation. Our advice is always honest, our claims process is transparent and effective, and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with our no-win, no-fee approach.
To find out more, or to start your claim today, call us on 01225 430285. If you prefer, we can call you back. After just a few minutes on the phone, we’ll have enough information to allow our solicitors to get your claim started.