In the legal world, the term “negligence” is a cause of action and tort. It is the failure to behave with the level of care that an ordinary person would have exercised under the same circumstances. The core concept of negligence is that people should exercise reasonable care in their actions, whether that be driving a car or providing a specialized service (for instance, a doctor practicing medicine). In order to have a cause of action for negligence against another, you must show that the other party:
- Owed you a duty (for instance that other person owed you the duty of driving safe while they were operating their car on the road).
- Breached that duty (for instance, texting while driving and swerved into the wrong lane).
- Causation. The other person breach of their duty affected you.
- You were damaged by the other person’s breach of their duty (example: you now have pain and suffering and medical expenses to pay for).
In negligence cases, the duty someone owes varies depending on what kind of event was occurring. For instance, a driver of an automobile owes a different standard of care than a doctor who owes a duty to his or her patients that a reasonable competent practitioner would owe their patients. Someone who has suffered a loss caused by another person’s negligence may be able to sue for damages to compensate them for their harm. Negligence is one of the greatest sources of litigation in the United States along with contract/business disputes.
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