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What does negligence mean?

The law of negligence requires people to behave in a manner that conforms to specific standards of conduct. Where a person's actions violate those standards, the law requires the person to compensate anyone who is injured as a result. In some instances, the law of negligence also covers a person's omission to act.

In tort law, which includes all negligence cases as well as intentional wrongs which result in harm, negligence is defined as "conduct that falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm."

The elements of negligence

In a successful negligence claim, the injured person, called the plaintiff, must show that each of the following factors, or elements, was present:

(1) a duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff;

(2) a breach of that duty;

(3) an actual causal connection between the defendant's conduct and the resulting harm;

(4) proximate cause, which relates to whether the harm was foreseeable;

(5) damages resulting from the defendant's conduct.

Duty can arise from all types of circumstances. For example, a driver owes a duty to other motorists to drive safely, maintain control of the vehicle, and observe the rules of the road. By running a stop sign, the driver breaches that duty. If someone was injured as a result, the injured party could argue that the breach was both the cause in fact and proximate cause of the injuries.

Have you been injured due to negligence?

The outcomes of personal injury cases depend on various factors, but having the help of a good injury attorney can make the biggest difference. Even if the facts are on your side, it takes the expertise of a lawyer to properly present your case and file the necessary processes. If you want information and feedback on a potential personal injury claim, you can have an attorney review your claim at no initial cost or obligation.