Home Definition Due Care (Legal Definition And What You Must Know)

Due Care (Legal Definition And What You Must Know)

What is Due Care?

How do you legally define it?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our legal dictionary!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What Is Due Care

Due care (or the standard of due care) is the phrase used to refer to a person’s effort in exercising prudence to avoid harm or a harmful result.

Due care is the evaluation of a person’s level of judgment exercised in a particular situation or in the context of a particular activity compared to that of a reasonable person.

What would a reasonable person do in the same situation?

What is the proper degree of care and prudence expected of a reasonable person in the same situation?

Since our lives can lead to endless possibilities of situations and scenarios, due care law is designed to be evaluated in light of the unique set of circumstances affecting a person on a case-by-case basis.

Due Care Definition

How do you define due care?

What is the duty of due care definition?

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, due care is defined as:

The care that an ordinarily reasonable and prudent person would use under the same or similar circumstances

This definition refers to a person exercising prudence and reasonable judgment before doing something.

According to Law.com, due care is defined as:

The conduct that a reasonable man or woman will exercise in a particular situation, in looking out for the safety of others.

This definition is more closely linked to the legal theories of negligence in civil law and any type of criminal conduct causing harm to another or exposing another to risk.

Due care and caution is a term used to refer to a person exercising a level of care (or prudence) and acting cautiously to avoid harm or mitigate hazards.

Duty of Due Care

What is the duty of due care?

The duty of due care is someone’s “duty” or “responsibility” to act reasonably and exercise prudence in a similar situation to avoid causing harm to another.

Let’s take the example of a driver of a motor vehicle.

A person exercising due care while driving is a person who is prudence and observant of the traffic laws.

However, if a person drives recklessly or in a negligent manner causing an accident or harm to another, based on the legal theories of negligence and tort law, we’d argue that the person failed in his or her duty of due care.

The duty of due care, at its core, is a principle designed to prevent accidents, damages, loss, injury, and to mitigate risk.

Due Care vs Due Diligence

What is the difference between due care and due diligence?

Due care and due diligence have a close meaning but are different.

Due care is how a person exercised care, judgment, or determination in any given situation.

The standard of due care is to evaluate a person’s conduct, behavior, and actions compared to that of a “reasonable person” in the same circumstances.

This phrase is used in civil law and criminal law particularly in cases relating to harm caused by negligence, criminal negligence, gross negligence, misconduct, and so on.

Due diligence is a similar term used to refer to how a person evaluated the situation before making a decision.

This phrase is generally used in corporate law when referring to “due diligence” or the process of investigating something like a commercial transaction, merger, or acquisition.

In commercial law, the notion of due diligence refers to a company or person’s full and complete understanding of the legal ramifications of a decision.

In a corporate law context, the term due care can also be used synonymously with due diligence.

As a result, due care and due diligence are similar in meaning but are generally used in a different context.

Failure to Exercise Due Care

What happens when a person fails to exercise due care?

The answer depends on the context.

In a civil lawsuit, a person who is found to fail to respect the standard of due care in a negligence or tort lawsuit will be condemned to compensate the plaintiff for damages.

If the failure relates to conduct that is found to violate criminal laws, then a person can be exposed to criminal accusations, fines, penalties, probations, or even jail time.

For example, if a person driving a car hits a pedestrian, it may be exposed to a civil lawsuit to compensate the pedestrian for damages such as medical expenses or loss of wages.

The same person may also face criminal charges if the prosecutor believes that the failure in the duty of care was so grave that it can be considered criminal conduct.

You should read our article on depraved indifference to see what conducts can be deemed to have criminal intent.


So what is the legal definition of Due Care?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Due Care Meaning

  • Due care refers to an ordinary level of care and is the standard of care used to determine what a reasonable person would do in the same situation or in similar circumstances
  • Due care is about evaluating a person’s conduct compared to that of a reasonable person whereas due diligence is a person’s investigation before making a decision 
  • The notion of due care may be different in every situation and the court will evaluate the level of care exercised on a case-by-case basis 
Board of directors
Dangerous instrumentality 
Due Compensation 
Due Diligence
Due diligence 
Due negotiation
Due notice 
Due on sale
Due on sale clause
Due process
Due process clause 
Malicious intent 
Medical malpractice 
Motion to dismiss 
Ordinary care
Reasonable care 
Reasonable person
Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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