you wouldn't sit for a month.” --Theodore Roosevelt
Let's look at how the law views negligence now. Negligence is omitting to do something that a reasonable person would do under normal circumstances; or doing something that a prudent or reasonable person would not do. The Free Dictionary defines it this way: "Conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. A person has acted negligently if he or she has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances."
According to The Law Dictionary, four elements must be present in order to bring a negligence case against someone today: duty, breach of duty, causation of negligence, and damage.
1. Duty The person who caused negligence must have a legal obligation to protect others from unreasonable risk. For instance, a doctor is expected to at least do no harm.
2. Breach of duty: It must be determined if a reasonable person would have done the same thing in a similar situation as the person being sued.
3. Causation of negligence: Both actual cause and proximate cause are essential in determining the cause of negligence. The actual cause of negligence means that the defendant was the actual cause of injuries sustained by the person who filed the lawsuit. The proximate cause of negligence considers the event itself and whether the injuries sustained were foreseeable.
4. Damage: The person filing the claim has the responsibility to prove that actual harm has resulted from the defendant’s negligence. Damages can be compensatory, punitive and nominal. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for actual costs incurred as the result of negligence. Punitive damages intent to punish the defendant for his or her negligence act. Nominal damages are awarded when the negligence has been proven but actual loss as a result of it has not occurred.
So, a person has acted negligently if they have departed from conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances -- as in a store keeper forgetting the "wet floor" sign after mopping, resulting in a slip-and-fall incident.
My personal opinion is that negligence claims have clogged our court systems and made others responsible for our sense of -- or lack of -- judgement. It has probably been the single most common suit filed now days, financing the judiciary with our priceless personal energy. At first blush, I would say let's do away with frivolous negligence claims.
Please feel free to give your opinion in the comment section. Would love to know what you think.
Loving each and every one,