Everyone is familiar with the concept of negligence in
personal injury cases. Negligence occurs when someone has a duty to act a certain way,
but fails to do so and injures someone else in the process. Negligence
per se is based on a different standard.
Here is what you need to know about negligence per se.
What constitutes negligence per se?
Negligence per se occurs when there is a violation of a statute or regulation
that establishes a standard of care in a certain situation. A very common
example would be Alabama’s Rules of the Road. If a driver causes a
motor vehicle crash because he failed to stop at a stop sign that would likely be negligence
per se. There is a statute in Alabama that requires drivers to stop at
stop signs. Failing to do so would be a violation of that statute.
How is negligence per se different from simple negligence?
In simple negligence cases, the standard of care that the defendant was
expected to meet is determined by what a reasonable person in that situation
would have done. However, in negligence per se cases, the standard of
care is clearly established by the statute or regulation that was allegedly violated.
The elements required to prove negligence per se
To establish a negligence per se claim, you must be able to prove the following:
- that a statute or regulation exists clearly defining the conduct required
- the statute or regulation was intended to prevent the kind of harm that
- the person who was injured was in the class of person the statute or regulation
was designed to protect
- the violation of that statute or regulation was the proximate cause of
the injury suffered
Are there penalties for negligence per se more serious?
Not ordinarily. However, many jurors are less sympathetic toward a defendant
who violates a clearly established law. For instance, someone who drives
drunk or runs a stop sign may be hit with a larger jury verdict because
that kind of behavior is often seen as more egregious.
If you have questions regarding a personal injury matter, contact us
online or by calling the
Law Office of Cody R. Wix, LLC at (205) 381-4787.