How Is Negligence Determined?
Each of us, whether in the operation of a car, in our work activities, or in just simply going about the tasks of everyday life, owes each of our fellow citizens an obligation to conduct ourselves in a way that will not harm them, or created an unreasonable risk of harm for them.
The law calls this obligation a "duty of care", and that if that duty is breached, and harm results, so will liability. This is negligence.
The duty owed is one of reasonable care and prudence, but it is not fixed. The duty owed will vary depending on the attendant circumstances, as well as the level of skill, age and experience of the individual owing the duty. The law requires each of us to act reasonably under the circumstances, whatever those may be. When a person's conduct runs afoul of that obligation, the law considers this a "breach" of that requirement. The violation of a statue [e.g. cannot switch lanes until safe to do so] can constitute evidence of a breach, and, accordingly, of negligence. The argument here is that the wording of the statute constitutes the nature of the duty. If the injury victim is a member of the group intended to be protected by the statute, and the injury is of the type the statute was drafted to prevent, then a violation of that statute., i.e. a "breach" of the statutory requirement, that causes injury is evidence that negligence has occurred. LEARN MORE.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 4/17/19.