Updated September 1, 2021
Most cases that are brought in the personal injury area are based upon negligence. Negligence basically means the failure to use reasonable care or the failure to use ordinary care. If a person does something that is dangerous, if the person commits an act that is unreasonable, then that is negligence.
It can be the violation of a law. If you are, for instance, exceeding the speed limit and you crash into somebody, then you can be said to be negligent because you have violated a law, a speed limit.
On the other hand, you can still be negligent without necessarily violating a law. An example would be that if you failed to maintain a proper lookout for other vehicles coming toward you. There’s no particular law that says you have to do that, but that still would be acting without reasonable care, so that would be negligence.
The word negligence in the law is a pretty simple meaning, really. It just means a failure to use ordinary care. That’s the basis upon which a jury would evaluate the defendant’s conduct to see if the defendant is liable and also would evaluate the plaintiff’s conduct to see if the plaintiff is comparatively at fault at all for the accident.
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