Have you been injured in some kind of accident? If so, you’ve probably been doing plenty of reading on the topic of personal injury and personal injury lawsuits. You’ve seen the word “negligence” used extensively.
But what, exactly, does it mean?
Legal Definition of Negligence
In legal terms, negligence is a failure to act with a reasonable level of care; a level that someone of ordinary judgment would exercise under the same circumstances. This can apply either to a person’s actions, or to a failure to act when there is a reasonable duty to act.
Examples of Negligence
A person is considered negligent when he or she ignores a probable outcome of harm resulting from an action or inaction. A few examples of negligent behavior include:
- A person operating a vehicle while taking medication known to cause drowsiness
- A shopkeeper failing to post “wet floor” signs where a spill is being cleaned up
- A doctor failing to diagnose a common illness with straightforward symptoms
No one can predict all possible outcomes of an action or failure to act. If the result of harm is not foreseeable, a person is not negligent.
For instance, if a store’s front door is in perfect working order, but a child’s hand is caught in the door when it closes, this is not an example of negligence. Although the accident is unfortunate and may cause injury, no one could reasonably foresee the accident. The child’s injury is not the result of anyone’s action or failure to act.
Establishing Negligence in a Legal Case
Certain elements are necessary to establish negligence after an accidental injury. They include:
- Existence of a legal duty to exercise reasonable care
- Failure to exercise such care
- Physical harm caused by the negligent conduct
- Loss due to physical harm
Losses may include, but are not limited to, financial losses, pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life for the victim.
Personal injury law is complex, and every case is different. If you believe someone’s negligence caused you or a loved one harm, you deserve a caring, knowledgeable attorney who will fight to get what you deserve. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.