Your Guide to Legal Liability: What is Negligence?
Visit the website for any of the 135,000 personal injury lawyers in the US, and you’re sure to see one word over and over again: negligence.
It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, especially if you love watching legal dramas. But what is negligence, exactly? How does it relate to liability? Most importantly, how do you go about proving negligence if you’ve been injured?
We’ll answer these important questions and more, so keep reading!
What Is Negligence?
To win a legal case, you must prove that your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. The basic idea is that their action (or lack of action) led directly to your injuries.
Proving negligence involves proving each of these four things:
- Duty (the other party’s responsibility for your safety or wellbeing)
- Breach (failure to consider your safety or wellbeing)
- Causation (evidence that this breach of duty was a direct cause of your injury)
- Damages (the actual damage to your health or property)
Common examples of negligence include car crashes, trip-and-fall accidents, or medical errors.
Different Types of Negligence
Ordinary negligence occurs when someone fails to take a reasonable amount of care and consideration for another’s welfare. This could include:
- A business owner who fails to repair a broken curb in front of his store
- A dog owner who leaves his dog chained within easy reach of passersby
- A doctor who prescribes the wrong type or wrong dose of medication
There’s no premeditation behind this type of negligence. Rather, it happens as the result of an “accident” (although liability still falls on the responsible individual).
Gross negligence, on the other hand, involves a planned disregard for someone else’s safety. Consider what this could look like in real life:
- A business owner has seen people trip over the broken curb but does nothing about it
- A homeowner deliberately leaves his dog loose when he knows children are playing nearby
- A doctor amputates a limb when he knows there are less drastic treatment options available
Can you see the difference? Both types of negligence are avoidable, but gross negligence is a more serious offense (with a larger lawsuit at stake).
How Does the Law Determine Negligence?
You may be tempted to skip pursuing a claim, especially if it’s clear that there was no harmful intent behind your injuries.
However, it’s still a good idea to meet with an attorney to discuss your case. They’ll examine the details and help you decide whether it’s worth pursuing legal action or not.
What about your own business? Even if you’re a responsible employer, accidents can and do happen. Be sure to get your quote today for professional liability insurance so you’re protected in case you’re ever accused of negligence.
Proving Negligence & Liability: Final Thoughts
Like other aspects of the legal world, proving negligence can be a challenge.
If you’ve been injured by someone else’s actions, your best bet is to speak with a personal injury lawyer in your locale. And if you own a business, be sure you have proper liability insurance to protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit.
Now that you understand the basics of negligence, what’s next? Our site has more interesting articles like this one, so stay right here and continue browsing.