What Constitutes Negligence?

Negligence is the most common tort (or “legal wrong”). Under the law, negligence occurs when a legal duty is owed to another, that legal duty is breached, and damages result.

As an example, when we drive, we owe a legal duty to others to drive in a safe manner. If we drive at a high rate of speed during a rainstorm and our car skids out and collides with other people who are injured, a jury will likely determined that we breached our “duty of care” by driving recklessly, and that are conduct is negligent. In such a case, the jury would be entitled to order us to pay for all injuries and damages resulting from our negligence.

On the other hand, if we are waiting at a red stop light and another vehicles rams our car from behind, causing us to hit another car, in all likelihood a jury will determine that we have not breached our duty of care.

Generally, the law imposes a “reasonable person” standard on conduct when determining whether the conduct violated a duty of care. In other words, the applicable consideration is how a reasonable person would have acted under similar circumstances.

In the first example, a jury would likely conclude that a reasonable person driving in a rainstorm would have driven more slowly in order to avoid losing control of a car, while in the second example, a jury could determine that a reasonable person would have also waited at a red light, and that nothing was done wrong.

Common Types of Negligence

Common types of negligence claims include:

  • Vehicle injury claims, including those involving bars and restaurants over-serving intoxicated patrons),
  • Motorcycle accidents,
  • Slips and falls
  • Medical malpractice
  • Animal bites
  • Construction accidents
  • Birth injury claims,
  • Pedestrian and cycling accidents, and
  • Wrongful death.

Call Us to Learn About the Aspects of Negligence for Your Case 

The above discussion is a simplification of the law of negligence, and is intended only as a brief overview on this subject.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, please call us to schedule an appointment to learn more about whether negligence may have occurred for your case.  There is no obligation or fee for this appointment.  At this time we can also discuss possible representation of you in your case.

103 W. Seneca Street, Suite 301
Ithaca, NY 14850
Telephone: (607) 272-5590
Fax: (607) 272-5594

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