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n tort law, a duty of care (or delict in Scots law) is a legal obligation set on an individual requiring that they confirm to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. It is the first element that must be established to proceed with an action in negligence. The plaintiff (pursuer in Scotland) must be able to show a duty of care imposed by lawwhich the defendant (or defender) has breached. In turn, breaching a duty may subject an individual to liability in tort or delict. The duty of care may be imposed by operation of law between individuals with no current direct relationship (familial or contractual or otherwise), but eventually become related in some manner, as defined by common law (meaning case law).

Duty of care may be considereda formalization of the social contract, the implicit responsibilities held by individuals towards others within society. It is not a requirement that a duty of care be defined by law, though it will often develop through the jurisprudence of common law.

* 1 Development of the general duty of care
* 2 No physical or chronological proximity required
* 3 Generaltests for imposing a duty of care
o 3.1 United Kingdom
o 3.2 United States
+ 3.2.1 Foreseeability test
+ 3.2.2 Multi-factor test
* 4 The standard by which the duty is measured
* 5 Particular types of cases under which the duty usually exists
o 5.1 Products
o 5.2 Land
o 5.3 Business
* 6 References[edit] Development of the general duty of care

At common law, duties were formerly limited to those with whom one was in privity one way or another, as exemplified by cases like Winterbottom v. Wright (1842). In the early 20th century, judges began to recognize that the cold realities of the Second Industrial Revolution (in which end users were frequently several parties removed from theoriginal manufacturer) implied that enforcing the privity requirement against hapless consumers had harsh results in many product liability cases. The idea of a general duty of care that runs to all who could be foreseeably affected by one's conduct (accompanied by the demolishing of the privity barrier) first appeared in the landmark U.S. case of MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. (1916) and was importedinto UK law by another landmark case, Donoghue v Stevenson [1932]. Both MacPherson and Donoghue were product liability cases.
[edit] No physical or chronological proximity required

Although the duty of care is easiest to understand in contexts like simple blunt trauma, it is important to understand that a duty can be still found in situations where plaintiffs and defendants may be separatedby vast distances of space and time.

For instance, an engineer or construction company involved in erecting a building may be reasonably responsible to tenants inhabiting the building many years in the future. This point is illustrated by the decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court in Terlinde v. Neely 275 S.C. 395, 271 S.E.2d 768 (1980), later cited by the Supreme Court of Canada inWinnipeg Condominium Corporation No. 36 v. Bird Construction Co. [1995] 1 S.C.R. 85:
“ The plaintiffs, being a member of the class for which the home was constructed, are entitled to a duty of care in construction commensurate with industry standards. In the light of the fact that the home was constructed as speculative, the home builder cannot reasonably argue he envisioned anything but a class ofpurchasers. By placing this product into the stream of commerce, the builder owes a duty of care to those who will use his product, so as to render him accountable for negligent workmanship. ”
[edit] General tests for imposing a duty of care

Although the idea of a general duty of care is now widely accepted, there are significant differences among the common law jurisdictions concerning the...
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