Duty of Care

Definition of a "duty of care"

means a duty to take reasonable care or to exercise reasonable skill (or both);  

The obligation of a person to exercise reasonable care in the conduct of an activity. Breach of a duty of care which causes damage or loss to another may give rise to an action in tort (q.v.).

What is a duty of care?
A duty of care is a legal obligation to avoid causing harm and arises where harm is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ if care is not taken. There must be a sufficient relationship of closeness (sometimes referred to as ‘proximity’) between the two parties in order for a duty of care to exist.

An example of such a relationship is a Lawyer and Client relationship or the relationship between a Doctor and Patient.

Under some legislation, there are qualifications on the duty of care such as, for example, 'good samaritans' and food donors. People acting in an emergency situation without expectation of payment or providing food for a charitable purpose are generally exempt from civil liability, providing they did not act recklessly.

When is a duty of care breached?
In order to establish whether a duty of care has been breached the court will look first of all at the standard of care that is expected in the circumstances.

The standard of care is determined by looking at what a reasonable person would have done (or not done) in the same circumstances. Where a defendant has acted in an unreasonable way or their actions fell well below the standard expected they will be found to have breached their duty of care.

The most common examples are those that apply to everyday activities such as driving. All road users (including pedestrians) are expected to behave according to what is reasonable.

Examples of failure to meet a standard of care:

  • where a driver fails to keep their eyes looking ahead and as a result runs into the rear of the car in front of them
  • where a driver is travelling too close to the car in front of them and runs into the rear because of an inadequate stopping distance.


What is standard of care?
The standard of care is the way in which a person should act to make sure that they do not breach their duty of care. The things that need to be done to meet this standard of care are different in every situation, but there are a few guidelines which must always be followed.

A person must act as a reasonable person of the same skills would in the same situation.

Latest News

Finalists again in 2020

CPR Insurance Services was very pleased to be nominated again for this year's Insurance Business Magazine awards. Unfortunately the Awards night has been postponed until later due to COVID19, we very much appreciate the accolades this brings us. We have been nominated three years in a row now and won the the award the past two years. It was always going to be very hard to win three in a row.

read more

CPR Insurance Services Awarded Authorised Representative Insurance Business of the Year for 2019

Mandy and Robert Cooper were proud to receive the inaugural Authorised Representative Business of the Year from ANZIIF in the Australian Insurance Industry Awards for 2019.

We share this award with all our staff, Lauren, Guy and Sarah and thank them for their dedication in providing the best possible customer service. We also thank our clients who have made our business what it is today. We thank you all so much.

read more