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What Does Negligence Mean?

Cory P. Whalen - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyJanuary 12, 2017

Many lawyers advertise that if you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence that you should contact a lawyer.  While that’s good advice, what does negligence mean?


In layman’s terms, negligence means when another person fails to act in a reasonably prudent way or with carelessness or even reckless disregard.  More specifically though, under Minnesota law, the elements of a negligence claim are: (1) an applicable duty of care; (2) a breach of that duty; and (3) an injury (4) that was proximately caused by the breach.  Now that sounds much more complicated that the layman’s definition. 
Generally, negligence is defined as the failure to exercise such care as persons of ordinary prudence usually exercise under same or similar circumstances.


Let me give an example.  During a heavy snow storm with bad roads, we all have a duty to act accordingly and drive safely under the compromised road conditions.  A prudent driver would drive his or her vehicle at a reduced speed to accommodate the bad roads.  That’s being reasonably prudent under the circumstances.  A driver that operates his or her vehicle on bad roads at a rate of speed above the posted speed limit or faster than what would be safe is placing everyone on the road at risk.  Should that driver lose control of his or her car – negligence may be in play. 


Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is important when you’ve been hurt in an accident.  Cory Whalen has nearly 20 years of representing automobile, bus and motorcycle accident victims in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, South Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Colorado, Wyoming, Florida and Hawaii.  Contact us today for a free case evaluation and be safe on the roads.

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