What Negligence Means

At one point or another we have all considered filing a claim against somebody for "negligence". This normally occurs after having been involved in an accident. But what exactly does "negligence" mean?

The legal concept of "negligence" has evolved over several centuries. Depending on the case, it can either be easy or difficult to apply. Here we provide a summary of those elements that judicial courts consider when deciding if someone has been "negligent".

  • Incompletion of duties and damages. A person is negligent when they cause harm by not fulfilling their duties towards another person. As an example, we all have to be careful when driving a car. A driver who was not careful and causes an accident is "negligent".
    An important aspect of negligence is its "predictability". A person is guilty of negligence only if the damage caused was a predictable result of his actions.
  • How courts decide. In order to decide if someone has not fulfilled their duties, the courts examine all the facts in the case, so as to fully understand what happened. After they asked themselves what a "reasonable" person would do in the same situation. If the person accused of negligence did exactly what any reasonable person would do in the same situation, they are not guilty. But if the person’s actions were distinct from those of a reasonable person, it is more than likely that they are negligent.
  • A recent example. Pedro was injured after having tripping on a game that had fallen to the ground in a store. Pedro initiated a claim against the store’s owner. The courts ruled in Pedro’s favor because the store employee who had placed the toys on the shelf did a lousy job and therefore had been negligent.

If you are injured in an accident due to somebody else’s negligence, get legal assistance and learn about your rights to receive monetary compensation. But you must move quickly, as the window of opportunity to file a claim is limited.

Law Information