Negligence is a term that is often thrown around. However, negligence in the legal sense has a specific meaning. Negligence is essentially the deviation by an individual or business from the accepted standard of care owed to another under a particular set of circumstances. In other words, in order to establish a case sounding in negligence, the plaintiff must establish that a duty of care existed and that the defendant failed to act in a reasonable matter thereby breaching his or her duty owed to the plaintiff. I addition, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the damages sustained by the plaintiff.
So for example a dentist is held to a standard of reasonable care when doing dental work and he is held to the standard of other dentists performing similar tasks. If the dentist fails to act in a reasonable manner and causes injury to a patient that patient may be able to recover an in negligent suit. If a home improvement contractor damages your house and you can prove that the contractor failed to act in a reasonable manner and deviated from the normal actions of other home improvement contractors you may also have a negligence claim.
The idea of negligence is not as simple as it sounds when it’s used in the course of casual conversations. There are times when somebody clearly has a duty of care which they have breached but the plaintiff cannot provide a direct causal link between the damages suffered and the defendant’s failure to act in a reasonable matter.
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