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