What Should You Do After A Car Accident?

Negligence Per Se – What is it?

Posted on April 20th, 2009 No Comments

The legal doctrine of Negligence Per Se states that someone is considered legally negligent if they violate a public safety law. The logic being that, because the burden of proof is higher in a criminal court than a civil court, if a person is found criminally guilty of endangering the safety of others, it can be assumed they are civilly guilty as well. Typically, cases of negligence per se apply to traffic violations that result in accidents, but there are numerous situations that may result in negligence per se. However, four criteria must be proven for a valid claim of negligence per se.

•    A law was violated. Although other types of negligence may have occurred, negligence per se cannot be committed unless a law was violated.
•    The law was a safety law.
•    The action caused the kind of harm the law was trying to prevent. If the injury that occurred was incidental to the actual law that was broken, the defendant has not committed negligence per se, although he may have committed another type of negligence.
•    The plaintiff was a member of the group that the law was trying to protect. Typically, most safety laws are designed to protect “the general public”, so this criterion is usually easy to prove. However, in certain cases, a victim can be excluded from the group the law was trying to protect, such as in the case of many employee protection laws, if a non-employee was injured.

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If you have been injured as a result of someone else's negligence, regardless of whether or not negligence per se has occurred, contact Jacksonville personal injury lawyer Don Guthrie at 904-296-1088

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