Negligence

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,656 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Contract Agreement?

CREATE A FREE PROJECT POSTING
Post Project Now

Negligence Defined

Negligence refers to the failure to act with the level of caution or care expected from a person of ordinary prudence. An act of negligence may amount to a situation where an individual acts carelessly. From a legal perspective, the act of negligence must result in injuries or damage to another person's property for a claim to be binding.

The negligent behavior may include actions and omissions where there was an assumed duty or act of care. Ideally, the concept of negligence exists on the premise that there's an expectation on people to exercise reasonable care in all their actions. The assumption is that people should always take account of the probable harm their actions or inactions may cause on people or property before acting.

5 Types of Negligence

Depending on the circumstances, acts of negligence may take varying forms. Moreover, each state has a different set of laws that define negligence and the extent of liability each type of negligence attracts. Nevertheless, here are some common types of negligence.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is one of the more common acts of omission and commission, leading to partial legal liability. For example, suppose the plaintiff is partially responsible for their injuries or damages. In that case, they must pay a particular partial payment to cover part of the damages. This reduces the amount awarded to the plaintiff as personal injury compensation is reduced by the percentage of the total value of their fault.

In a case where the plaintiff receives $10,000 in damages following a car accident, the jury will then sit to determine whether the plaintiff was at fault. If they decide that there was 30% responsibility on the plaintiff, the total damages paid will be $7,000.

Comparative negligence allocates the total value of damages or injuries between the plaintiff and the defendant based on the established extent of liability.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence from a legal perspective refers to a behavior contributing to one's injuries or damages. Such acts fail to meet the prudence standard that individuals should observe for their safety.

In most cases, contributory negligence is applicable as a plead by the defense team against the charge of negligence. However, over time more states are moving away from this approach. A contributory negligence perspective tends to disadvantage the plaintiff.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Tina R.

14 projects on CC
View Profile

Daehoon P.

72 projects on CC
View Profile

Briana C.

39 projects on CC
View Profile

Michael M.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

Convergence of Comparative and Contributory Negligence

The other common type of negligence is the combination of comparative and contributory negligence. This is a modified perspective to negligence that often combines the two converging types of negligence.

When a jury assesses negligence from this perspective, the plaintiff may stand to recover as much as 50% of the damages or losses incurred. For instance, an individual may have been texting while driving. The resulting accident may have been partly due to this action and another speeding car.

In such cases, the jury will combine both types of negligence and then determine the extent of liability. The verdict made in such contexts embraces the modified comparative negligence. The scope of damage or injury the plaintiff and the defendants share on the interpretation of this convergence.

Some states, such as Illinois, reduce or increase liability on the plaintiff by primarily assessing their contribution to the injury.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence applies where an individual shows a complete lack of regard for the safety of those around them. However, the jury will often assess the extent of intentionality in the actions leading to the accident. This type of negligence is often treated differently from ordinary negligence, where an individual's actions may have been unintended.

This is the most serious of all forms of negligence in most states. In professional practice such as medicine, acts of recklessness from medics often fall within this category. For instance, a home care nurse's failure to provide a patient with food and water for several days warrants a case of gross misconduct.

Most states stipulate harsh legal implications in case of gross misconduct. The assumption is that the defendant knowingly fails to practice due diligence, an outcome that causes immense losses. Such a complete lack of regard for others warrants a charge of gross misconduct.

Vicarious Negligence

Sometimes the actions of another person or animal may be charged on the defendant. Such instances may include the actions of a minor, a pet (dog), or a herd of cows. The child's parents/ guardian or the pet owner may be liable for vicarious negligence in such cases.

The assumption in such a scenario is that the individual is indirectly responsible for the losses or damages accruing. Therefore, in a dog-bite case, the only logical legal direction is to charge the dog owner for the injuries and losses incurred.

Here's an article about the different types of negligence.

Examples of Negligence

There are wide-ranging examples of negligence that can help build a better understanding of acts of negligence. For instance, if a medical practitioner in the cause of treatment gives a patient the wrong dose, the resultant health impacts may amount to a negligence charge. The jury may need to determine if the actions are gross or ordinary negligence.

Another example is where a driver causes multiple accidents due to driving under the influence. In such a case, the driver may be liable for the full charge of gross negligence. Other scenarios include reckless driving or over-speeding, leading to death and injury.

Other examples of negligence include the failure of an engineer to ensure high-quality standards during the construction of a building. Such concerns may include the use of low-quality material. If such a building collapses, the engineer may have a day in court.

Here's an article with examples of negligence.

Elements of Negligence

When assessing the probability of negligence, four elements often play out. These factors are:

The Existence of a Legal Duty

Here, the plaintiff must confirm that the defendant owed them an extent of legal duty.

Breach of Duty

Beyond the existence of a legal duty, the plaintiff should also prove beyond doubt that there was a breach. In some cases, proving this may require hard-hitting facts.

Proximate Cause

Proximate cause is the other vital element to consider when assessing negligence. The proximate cause refers to an injury or damage indirectly linked to an accident.

The proximate cause is different from the cause. The plaintiff suffers damages or injury due to an outcome beyond their control. For example, if a truck hits a building but the crumbling ceiling injures the homeowner, negligence may be assessed from the point of proximate cause.

Sufferance of Injury

Once the plaintiff shows proof that the defendant had a legal duty to act in a certain way, then they must show sufferance. The plaintiff must prove that the injuries they seek compensation for were due to the specific accident.

There must be actual physical damage to confirm that the defendant's actions or inaction caused the underlying injuries. Such examples may include bodily harm or substantial property damage.

Negligence in Law

Negligence in law refers to a scenario where an individual owes another person care. They then behave in a way that results in harm, injury, or damage. In some professions, such as healthcare, negligence is a significant concern that often leads to legal tussles.

In law, acts of gross negligence can attract legal consequences. This can include fines, jail terms, or both. Depending on the state, these legal consequences may vary.

Negligence Vs. Gross Negligence

Some actions, omissions, and behaviors may be unintended. When such actions cause injuries or damages, the extent of legal liability may be within the confines of rational judgment. If injuries or damages are sustained due to a lack of regard for the safety of others, then they may amount to gross negligence.

Ordinary negligence is a situation where the defendant never meant to cause harm. However, in the case of gross negligence, it argued that the defendant's actions were intentional and somewhat malicious.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

View Rosario
Member Since:
August 24, 2020

Rosario A.

Trademark Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Seattle, WA
2 Yrs Experience
Licensed in WA
University of Washington

I'm a Washington-licensed lawyer specializing in trademark practice and with an extensive trademark education and academic background. I currently work with domestic and international businesses seeking trademark protection in the U.S. by conducting trademark searches, providing legal advice, submitting USPTO applications, and preparing responses to office actions. I'm passionate about trademark law and always looking forward to helping small and medium businesses promote their value by having a registered federal trademark. If you have questions or concerns about trademark/copyright/IP licensing and require legal advice, feel free to contact me so we can have a first chat.

View Jeffrey
Member Since:
August 24, 2020

Jeffrey P.

Member
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Deerfield Beach, FL
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL, NY
Florida State University College of Law

Mr. Pomeranz serves as the principal of Pomeranz Law PLLC, a boutique law firm representing clients across myriad industries and verticals. Before founding the firm, Mr. Pomeranz served as Senior Vice President, Legal & Compliance and General Counsel of Mortgage Connect, LP in 2017. Mr. Pomeranz also served as Counsel, Transactions for Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (NASDAQ: ASPS) beginning in 2013, and was based in the company’s C-Suite in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Mr. Pomeranz began his career with Mainline Information Systems, Inc. as an in-house attorney.

View Ashley
Member Since:
August 24, 2020

Ashley H.

Attorney at Law
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Los Angeles, CA
11 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
St. Louis University School of Law

I have 10 years experience providing general counsel, in the form practical and timely legal advice, under strict deadlines to individuals and various business unit stakeholders, balancing commercial needs with legal concerns at large corporations and start-ups. I am skilled at reviewing, analyzing, drafting and negotiating commercial and government contracts globally for the procurement and sale of services and goods. I also help clients ensure compliance with regulations (including data privacy), laws and contractual obligations and protect, enforce and exploit intellectual property rights and support in the development of IP strategy. I am a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US) licensed by the IAPP - International Association of Privacy Professionals.

View Diane
Member Since:
August 25, 2020

Diane D.

Contract Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Fort Lauderdale, FL
19 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Nova Southeastern University

Over 15 year experience drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts both as in-house counsel and in law firms, including my own law firm.

View Rinky
Member Since:
August 25, 2020

Rinky P.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Tampa, FL
29 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, FL, TX
University of Minnesota

Rinky S. Parwani began her career practicing law in Beverly Hills, California handling high profile complex litigation and entertainment law matters. Later, her practice turned transactional to Lake Tahoe, California with a focus on business startups, trademarks, real estate resort development and government law. After leaving California, she also served as in-house counsel for a major lending corporation headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa as well as a Senior Vice President of Compliance for a fortune 500 mortgage operation in Dallas, Texas prior to opening Parwani Law, P.A. in Tampa, Florida. She has represented various sophisticated individual, government and corporate clients and counseled in a variety of litigation and corporate matters throughout her career. Ms. Parwani also has prior experience with state and federal consumer lending laws for unsecured credit cards, revolving credit, secured loans, retail credit, sales finance and mortgage loans. She also has served as a special magistrate and legal counsel for numerous Florida County Value Adjustment Boards. Her practice varies significantly from unique federal and state litigation cases to transactional matters. Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Ms. Parwani worked in private accounting for several years prior to law school. Her background includes a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate from Iowa (currently the license is inactive) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation (currently the designation is inactive). Ms. Parwani or the firm is currently a member of the following organizations: Hillsborough County Bar Association, American Bar Association, Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association. Ms. Parwani is a frequent volunteer for Fox Channel 13 Tampa Bay Ask-A-Lawyer. She has published an article entitled "Advising Your Client in Foreclosure" in the Stetson Law Review, Volume 41, No. 3, Spring 2012 Foreclosure Symposium Edition. She is a frequent continuing legal education speaker and has also taught bankruptcy seminars for the American Bar Association and Amstar Litigation. She was commissioned by the Governor of Kentucky as a Kentucky Colonel. In addition, she teaches Immigration Law, Bankruptcy Law and Legal Research and Writing as an adjunct faculty instructor at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus in the paralegal studies program.

View Anatalia
Member Since:
August 26, 2020

Anatalia S.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Miami, FL
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
South Texas College of Law

High quality work product at affordable prices.

View Nicole
Member Since:
September 2, 2020

Nicole R.

Attorney / Owner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Mount Dora, FL
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
University of Miami School of Law

Full-service boutique law firm providing personalized services in business law, trademarks, and real estate closings/title work.

View Michael
Member Since:
September 2, 2020

Michael B.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Southern New Jersey
30 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ
Temple University

Providing attentive service since 1992, Mike has established himself as a go-to source for legal answers throughout the Southern New Jersey region.

View Maury
Member Since:
September 2, 2020

Maury B.

Senior Counsel
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Minneapolis, MN
31 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MN, WI
Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Respected, driven, ethical, and high energy legal and business professional with strong focus on litigation, contracts and compliance issues. Critical management experience includes client development, developing core initiatives, and forecasting risk in major corporations. Strong legal research, analytical and problem solving skills with demonstrated adaptability in a multifaceted legal practice including delivering high value results in a Fortune 10 environment. Core competencies include: Tactical and strategic legal direction and support to clients which includes contract negotiation, drafting and review, business planning, and a passion for relationship management. Excellent legal research, writing, analytical and problem solving skills including legal training and compliance with regulatory requirements and corporate policies. Coordinates with in-house legal and business resources for team building with excellent verbal communication skills, coaching, and leadership.

View Blake
Member Since:
September 22, 2020

Blake L.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Farmington Hills, MI
27 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MI
Wayne State University Law School

I am a sole practitioner who has been in practice for over 25 years. I have represented many small businesses during this time. Let me bring my expertise to your business.

View Diana
Member Since:
September 22, 2020

Diana M.

Patent Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Boca Raton, FL
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Florida Coastal School of Law

Diana is a registered patent attorney and licensed to practice law in Florida and in federal courts in Florida and in Texas. For nearly a decade, Diana has been known as the go-to brand builder, business protector, and rights negotiator. Diana works with individual inventors, startups, and small to medium-sized closely held business entities to build, protect, and leverage a robust intellectual property portfolio comprising patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade dress, and trade secrets.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call