The concept of negligence law is born of the idea that we each owe certain duties to one another. This includes not only individuals and businesses but also branches of the government. It can also include non-profit organizations and, as was the situation in a recent case, colleges and universities.
Some duties are general in nature, such as the duty that motorists owe one another to keep a proper lookout while driving. Duties can sometimes be more specific, depending on special knowledge or control by one party or the other.
One thing that is sure, however, is that no one owes anyone else the duty to prevent any and all harm that might befall him or her. Such a notion would be very unfair, of course. Instead, the question of duty is more often resolved based on an inquiry into whether the harm was foreseeable and whether the defendant could have prevented such with reasonable efforts.