What Is Negligence?


We are all required to participate in activities in a way that does not cause harm to others. This is true whether the activity is recreational or part of your daily work duties. Being distracted while driving or while involved with other activities is becoming increasingly alluring as technology becomes more mobile and ubiquitous. This lack of attention due to technology falls below the normal standard of care owed to others. When someone acts at a level of care below the generally accepted standard, the actions undertaken are considered negligent. Injuries that result as the direct result of another’s negligence are compensable.

Negligence is legally defined as falling below the level of attention required for the situation. In cases of personal injury, it is imperative to examine the facts, so a determination of negligence can be found and the responsible party held accountable. The elements examined include:

  • Application of the reasonable person standard: This requires asking the question of whether a reasonable person would act the same in similar circumstances.
  • Intent: Was the injury caused intentionally, or by accident?
  • Whether the activity is inherently dangerous: Some activities are dangerous by nature, such as hunting. Yet, reasonable hunters follow safety precautions to avoid injury. Even when engaging in activities that are dangerous to begin with, caution must be exercised.
  • The skill level, knowledge and experience of the person who caused the harm.
  • The condition of the person engaged in the activity, both physical and mental.

Looking at the above factors in conjunction with the activity is required to make a finding of negligence. This means that if you cause a car wreck, the facts will be examined against the backdrop of what is normal behavior when driving. While it may be the norm to text and drive, it is certainly not acceptable behavior, given the general knowledge that texting while driving causes distracted driving. Because distracted driving causes accidents, to operate a vehicle under these circumstances is negligent. Every injury is different and the facts that caused the injury are unique. Skilled personal injury lawyers know how to examine the facts and apply the law to those facts.

Topics:  Bodily Injury, Negligence

Published In: Personal Injury Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Law Office of Dean Standish Perkins and Associates | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »


The best personal injury attorneys in Seattle have the experience, reputation, and dedication... View Profile »

Follow Law Office of Dean Standish Perkins and Associates:

Reporters on Deadline