Definition - What does Negligence mean?

Negligence is an individual's failure to behave with a level of care that a reasonable and prudent person would have exercised in the same circumstances.

Harm caused by carelessness is considered negligence.

An individual that was harmed by someone else's negligence can recover damages through civil litigation.

Justipedia explains Negligence

When an individual fails to exercise the proper level of care that any other reasonably prudent person would have exercised, it's considered to be negligence on the part of the individual.

Although carelessness and negligence are synonyms, they are used in different contexts. Negligence in the U.S. legal system is a tort that arises when an individual breaches their duty of care owed to another person from the perspective of a reasonably prudent person.

The four main elements that are analyzed in a lawsuit claiming negligence are:

  1. Duty of care
  2. Breach of duty
  3. Causation
  4. Damages
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