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What is Negligence?


Negligence is the legal concept that forms the framework of fault in most personal injury cases. The Legal Information Institute defines negligence as a failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances. While the behavior in question usually consists of actions, it can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.

When attempting to ascertain whether a person’s conduct or behavior lacked reasonable care, lawyers will consider the four elements that are required to establish a prima facie case (a legally required rebuttable presumption). The elements are:

  • The existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff
  • The defendant’s breach of that duty
  • The plaintiff’s sufferance of an injury
  • Proof that the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury

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