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Watchful attention; custody; diligence; concern; caution; as opposed to Negligence or carelessness.

In the law of negligence, the standard of reasonable conduct determines the amount of care to be exercised in a situation. The care taken must be proportional to the apparent risk. As danger increases, commensurate caution must be observed.

Slight care is the care persons of ordinary prudence generally exercise in regard to their personal affairs of minimal importance.

Reasonable care, also known as ordinary care, is the degree of care, diligence, or precaution that may fairly, ordinarily, and properly be expected or required in consideration of the nature of the action, the subject matter, and the surrounding circumstances.

Great care is the degree of care that persons of ordinary prudence usually exercise with respect to their personal affairs of great importance.

Another type of care is that which a fiduciary—a person having a duty, created by his or her undertaking, to act primarily for another's benefit—exercises in regard to valuable possessions entrusted to him or her by another.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. in law, to be attentive, prudent and vigilant. Essentially, care (and careful) means that a person does everything he/she is supposed to do (to prevent an accident). It is the opposite of negligence (and negligent), which makes the responsible person liable for damages to persons injured. If a person "exercises care," a court cannot find him/her responsible for damages from an accident in which he/she is involved. (See: careless)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
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