Negligence per se is a legal concept that refers to a situation where an individual or entity violates a statute or regulation, resulting in harm or injury to another person. In this article, we will explore the definition, elements, defenses, and examples of negligence per se.
What Is Negligence Per Se?
Negligence per se is a legal doctrine that establishes negligence based on a violation of a statute or regulation. Under negligence per se, if an individual or entity violates a statute or regulation, they are considered negligent, and there is no need to prove a breach of duty or causation in a civil lawsuit.
Elements of Negligence Per Se
To establish a case of negligence per se, four elements must be present:
1. The statute or regulation: The defendant must have violated a statute or regulation designed to protect a particular class of people or a particular interest.
2. Violation of the statute or regulation: The defendant must have violated the statute or regulation.
3. The plaintiff’s status: The plaintiff must be a member of the class of people the statute or regulation intended to protect.
4. Harm or injury: The plaintiff must have suffered harm or injury due to the defendant’s violation of the statute or regulation.
Defenses Against Negligence Per Se
Defenses against a claim of negligence per se may include arguing that the statute or regulation did not apply to the defendant’s behavior, that the defendant was unaware of the statute or regulation, or that the statute or regulation was unconstitutional.
Examples of Negligence Per Se
Examples of negligence per se include a driver violating a traffic regulation, resulting in an accident and injury to another person, or a business violating a health code regulation, resulting in illness or injury to a customer. Negligence per se can occur in any situation where a statute or regulation is designed to protect a particular class of people or interest, and the violation of the statute or regulation results in harm or injury to another person.
Implications of Negligence Per Se
Negligence per se can have significant implications for individuals or entities accused of violations. If someone is found guilty of negligence per se, they can be held liable for damages, including financial damages, medical expenses, and legal fees.
Negligence per se is a legal doctrine that establishes negligence based on a violation of a statute or regulation. Understanding the elements, defenses, and examples of negligence per se can help individuals and businesses take appropriate precautions to prevent harm or injury to others, such as ensuring compliance with relevant statutes and regulations. Seeking legal advice and understanding liability risks can also help mitigate the risk of negligence per se and protect individuals and entities from potential legal liability.
What is Negligence Per Se?
Negligence per se is negligence through the violation of statues and regulations that causes harm to the defendant. In this case, the “standard of care” is determined by a criminal statute, administrative regulation or municipal ordinance that is applied to determine the penalties in a civil case. The “standard of care” is the degree to which a reasonable person should be watchful and cautious in the set of circumstances that resulted in the injury of another party. For example, the “standard of care” in a DUI case would assume that a reasonable person would not operate a moving vehicle while inebriated.
For an action to be negligence per se, it must:
Have violated a statute that provides for a criminal penalty but not civil penalties
Have caused harm to a member of the class originally protected by the statute.
Have a plaintiff as a member of the class protected by the original statute.
How negligence per se is applied in civil court?
A lawsuit may be brought against a party if they are believed to have failed in exercising the due diligence expected of reasonable persons. The defending party in this case, violated their duty of care by failing to act according to their circumstances. The defendant has also committed a criminal penalty which would have been resolved in a higher court.
What is a standard of care?
The legal definition of “standard of care” is the degree of caution and vigilance expected of by a reasonable person during any action that involves injury to another party. This definition is subjective and varies from case to case. There is a distinction between professional and non-professional standards, which professional standards of care set by precedent with others of the same profession. Nonprofessional standards of care are set by the community and include ordinances such as trash disposal and speeding restrictions. Lastly, the standard of care can differ if there is a preexisting agreement between the two parties. If the plaintiff has paid to defendant for a higher standard of care that was violated, then this will be taken into account during the case.
What is an example of negligence per se?
A car breaking the speed limit and injuring a pedestrian would be negligence per se. In this instance, the law provides for a criminal penalty, but not a civil penalty. The plaintiff, protected by anti-speeding statues is a member of the protected class that the statute aims to protect. The driver of the car can be charged with negligence per se for failing to obey the statute and adhering the standard of care expected of him while operating a motor vehicle. A reasonable person would obey the speed limit and exercise due diligence when driving a car, but in this case, the defendant did not, which allows him to be charged with negligence per se in civil court in addition to criminal penalties.
US Legal – https://definitions.uslegal.com/s/standard-of-care/
Lexis Nexis – https://www.lexisnexis.com/lawschool/study/outlines/html/torts/torts06.htm