The Difference Between Negligence and Negligence Per Se

July 4, 2015

It has been some time since the last entry in our “Difference Between…” series, a feature in which we explain, in broad strokes, the difference between related, similar, or frequently confused legal concepts for non-lawyers.  In this post, we will be discussing the difference between negligence and negligence per se, two legal terms that you will likely hear if you are involved in an Ohio personal injury accident.

Negligence: The Basics

In Ohio, negligence is the failure to exercise due care in a particular situation.  To prove a claim for negligence, an injured person must establish that another person or entity failed to exercise due care in a particular situation, and that this failure to exercise due care caused damages to the injured person.

Because the law requires that each component of a negligence case be proven, defense attorneys frequently challenge personal injury claims by arguing 1) that there was no care due; that is, that the defendant did not have a duty to exercise care in the particular situation; or 2) that the defendant did not fail to exercise the care due.

When these challenges arise, it is the job of the plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer to establish that negligence did in fact occur.

Negligence Per Se

Negligence per se allows plaintiffs to establish negligence based on specific standards of care set by law.  In many personal injury cases, a defendant’s actions will not only injure the plaintiff; they will also violate a statute or ordinance.  If the violated statute or ordinance is specifically designed to protect against injuries like those suffered by the plaintiff, then the plaintiff does not have to prove that the defendant failed to exercise due care.  The violation of the statute, in and of itself, establishes both that care was due and that the defendant failed to exercise the requisite level of care.

If You Are Injured By Someone Else’s Negligence, You Need an Ohio Personal Injury Attorney

Even when a defendant’s actions violate a statute or ordinance, an Ohio personal injury claim presents many challenges.  Determining whether the violation amounts to negligence per se, proving causation and damages, and settlement negotiations all require the experienced guidance of an Ohio personal injury attorney.  If you or a loved one were injured as the result of negligence, contact Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA today to discuss your case.

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