What is “negligence?”
The Restatement of Torts defines “negligence” as conduct that falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. It most frequently arises in Motor Vehicle Accidents.  For example, all drivers owe a general standard of care to operate their vehicle in a safe manner, obey applicable traffic laws and not injureothers.  A driver may be negligent when they fail to stop at a stop sign and injure a pedestrian or other driver.

Generally, in a negligence case, the plaintiff must prove the following:

  1. The defendant had a duty or obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risks;
  2. the defendant breached that duty;
  3. the breach was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury; and
  4. the plaintiff suffered legally compensable damages.

Negligence can occur in a variety of other contexts as well, including Medical MalpracticeSlip and Fall CasesDefamation: Libel and SlanderDog BitesAssaultBattery and Other Intentional Torts.

If you think you may have a personal injury case, see the articles in our personal injury section to learn about the legal elements, or find a lawyer if you need expert advice.