Definition: MalpracticeNegligence takes many forms and may appear anywhere from tort law to malpractice law. Negligence occurs when somebody is injured, and it’s the job of personal injury attorneys to determine which party was negligent. Here is a quick overview that can explain the idea of negligence and how it is determined by personal injury lawyers.

“Reasonable” Persons

Negligence is closely tied to this idea of “reasonable” care or a “reasonable” person. Negligence holds that a person is being negligent if they were acting contrary to how a reasonable person would have acted in that situation. There is no preset definition of “reasonable” care or a “reasonable” person. Personal injury lawyers must argue for their definition of a reasonable person and argue either that their client was or was not acting as a reasonable person.

Negligence Per Se

In some cases, there is no argument as to what reasonable conduct is in a certain situation. This “reasonableness” is defined by a statute as to what a person must do in a given situation. For example, persons must not drive drunk. Failure to comply with this statute would constitute “negligence per se.”

Some acts are considered inherently negligent. For example, if a surgeon leaves a sponge inside a patient’s body, there is no need to prove that the doctor did or did not know what he was doing.

Possible Defenses to Negligence

Negligence usually involves the understanding of risk or the intent to do something. If somebody did not understand the risks involved in doing a certain activity, and if a “reasonable” person could not understand the risks involved in doing said activity, then that person may not be held negligent.


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If you've been injured in an accident, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Gaithersburg office directly at 301.840.0404 to schedule your free consultation.



Karen Sussman
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Gaithersburg Personal Injury Attorney
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