The first question that must be asked before any negligence lawsuit can be brought is whether the defendant owed a duty of care to the injured person.  Was the defendant under a legal duty to protect the injured person from harm.  The general rule is that we are all under a duty to protect others from foreseeable harm and unreasonable risks of harm.  But that only goes so far.  We are not typically insurers of others safety.  So, how do we determine whether a duty was owed?   There are three general places from which a duty arises:
  1. Legislation or administrative regulations
  2. Judicial rulings 
  3. The general facts of the case. 
A duty of care is most often established by:
  1. a foreseeable consequence of the defendant's conduct
  2. ordinance, regulation, or statute, 
  3. contract
  4. voluntary assumption of a duty of care by the defendant
  5. a special relationship between the plaintiff and defendant
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