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What "Negligence" Means

Posted on in Personal Injury
what-negligence-means

At one time or another, everyone thinks of making a claim against somebody for "negligence." Usually this happens after being in an accident. What exactly is "negligence?"

The legal concept called "negligence" has evolved over many centuries. Depending on the case, it can be easy or hard to apply. Here is a summary of the many elements courts consider to decide if someone was "negligent."

Breach of Duty and Damage. In short, negligence exists when someone causes damage by failing to perform a duty owed to someone else. For example, everyone has a duty to be careful when driving a car. A driver who is careless and gets in an accident may be "negligent."

"Damage" is the legal word for injuries suffered because someone was careless. Injuries include physical harm, emotional distress, damage to property, and lost wages.

One more aspect of negligence is "foreseeability." A person is liable for negligence only if the resulting damage was a foreseeable result of his or her actions.

How Courts Decide. To decide if someone breached a duty in a particular case, a court looks at all the facts to find out what happened. Then it asks what a "reasonable person" would have done in the same situation. If the person accused of being negligent did what an ordinary person would have done in the same situation, there is no liability. But if the person's actions were not what a reasonable person would do, then he or she will probably be found liable for acting negligently.

If you are hurt in an accident where the other party may have been negligent, seek legal help to find out about your right to recover damages. Act quickly, since there are time limits for making claims.

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