What is negligence?

Negligence is a failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person.

There are four steps in proving negligence. The plaintiff must prove:

  1. that there is a duty in the circumstances to take care (duty of care)
  2. that the behaviour or inaction of the defendant in the circumstances did not meet the standard of care which a reasonable person would meet in the circumstances (breach of duty)
  3. that the plaintiff has suffered injury or loss which a reasonable person in the circumstances could have been expected to foresee (damage)
  4. that the damage was caused by the breach of duty (causation).

*duty of care is the obligation of a person to exercise reasonable care in the conduct of an activity. Breach of a duty of care which causes damage or loss to another may give rise to an action in tort (q.v.).

*contributory negligence is a defence in an action for damages for injuries arising from the defendant’s negligence. The defendant attempts to prove that the plaintiff’s own negligence caused or contributed to the injuries suffered.

(source: http://www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au )

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