What Does Negligence Mean?
In personal injury cases, one of the most important and most difficult aspects to prove is negligence. This is true whether we are talking about medical malpractice, slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, vehicle collisions or other types of personal injury cases. In many instances, you don’t just need to prove fault; you also need to show that the other party was negligent in some way. But what does “negligence” mean in the eyes of the law? The Wex Legal Dictionary defines “negligence” as follows:
“A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).”In simpler terms, negligence occurs when someone does not take the reasonable care they would normally be expected to take, especially if it results in harm to someone else. As you can see, this is a broad definition that could be applied in many different ways, so let’s look at a few examples to clarify what negligence means.
Examples of negligenceBelow are some possible instances in which negligence might become a factor in a personal injury lawsuit:
- If a neighbor owns an aggressive dog that he allows to run free without a leash despite being warned, and the dog bites you.
- If you slip and fall on a wet floor in a retail store where water is not expected to exist due to a leak, and it’s apparent the owner made no attempt to clean it or to warn customers of the water’s presence.
- If a nursing home patient suffers bed sores because nursing staff won’t move them or change the sheets, or shows signs of dehydration or malnutrition.