Last modified on January 16, 2011, at 22:20

Special duty

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A special duty is an American legal concept that allows strangers to sue someone they never met and had no traditional legal relationship with. For example, this enables a car accident victim to sue the doctor of the driver if the doctor should have warned the driver not to drive. Courts can hold that the doctor had a "special relationship" with the victim, and a "special duty" not to expose the victim to a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm.

Four states recognize this concept of a "special duty":

Five states do not allow liability for this "special duty":