What Is Negligence?

ELI5: Negligence

A lot of personal injury claims hinge on whether or not the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff to become injured. Legally speaking, negligence occurs when the defendant’s failure to take reasonable precautions results in a plaintiff’s injuries. Though it sounds straightforward, there seems to be widespread confusion regarding the legal definition of negligence. Further complicating matters, there are different levels of negligence: a defendant who acted in a particularly reckless manner may be found to have been grossly negligent. If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, but you are unsure if your injuries are a result of negligence, keep reading—we’ve got your answers.


One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding negligence tends to be that there’s a very direct relationship between intentionality and negligence. Many people believe that if a plaintiff’s injuries were the result of the defendant’s mistake, then the defendant was not negligent because it was a mistake. The aforementioned is untrue: whether or not a defendant intended to harm the plaintiff is irrelevant. In fact, very few personal injury defendants intend to cause harm to the plaintiff, but their actions or inactions caused harm anyway.. When personal injury cases go to trial, juries aren’t asked to decide whether or not the defendant intended to cause the plaintiff’s injuries. Instead, juries are tasked with deciding whether or not the defendant was negligent, and whether or not the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injury.


The standard for negligence often comes down to the question of whether or not the defendant was acting in a reasonable way. According to Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, a defendant is negligent when they fail to take the same precautions that a person of ordinary prudence would take. However, in some circumstances, the standard for negligence is different. For example, in cases of medical malpractice, doctors are not held to the same standard as other people. Instead, when determining whether or not a doctor was negligent, a doctor’s actions will likely be compared to the actions of other doctors. If other doctors would have conducted themselves in a similar manner, the doctor is less likely to be considered negligent.


Foreseeability is another element of negligence. Foreseeability is concerned with whether or not the defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, of a hazard. For example, if you own a swimming pool, and a child drowns in the pool, you would be more likely to be found liable in a wrongful death claim if a personal injury attorney can prove that you knew, or reasonably should have known that the swimming pool was a hazard. This could happen if you know that children trespass onto your property to go swimming in your pool and you failed to take reasonable precautions to protect potential trespassing children from drowning. The more a defendant was able to foresee, the more likely it is that they will be found liable if they didn’t take precautions.


An “act of God” usually refers to a natural disaster such as, storms, fires, hurricanes, etc. For the most part, people aren’t responsible for things such as premises liability when acts of God are involved. If your house is torn down in a tornado, your guests who were injured in the tornado at your residence would not likely be able to win a premises liability claim against you. This is because you could not have foreseen the tornado, the tornado’s destruction, and you could not have prevented the tornado from happening on your property. However, if you know that you have certain hazardous weather conditions in your area, you could be liable for a person’s injuries if you do not take precautions to keep your property safe during those weather conditions. If you live somewhere with hurricanes, and you have a tree that you know needs to be cut down, you may be liable when the tree falls on top of a person during a windstorm.


When determining whether or not a defendant’s negligence caused your injury, you may need the help of a personal injury attorney. In that case, Moxie Law Group is here for you. Our experienced team is ready to help you fight for the compensation you need in order to get back on your feet. If you’re ready to file your claim, contact Moxie Law Group today for your free consultation.

Man drinking a beer - DUI lawyer Utah

Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk

by | Mar 7, 2023 | Educational,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

If you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a pint of Guinness, or some other alcoholic beverage, it’s important that you’ve got plans for a safe ride home before you...

How Underinsured Motorists and Uninsured Motorists Insurance Works

How Underinsured Motorists and Uninsured Motorist’s Insurance Works

by | Mar 2, 2023 | Educational,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

If you don’t have underinsured motorist and uninsured motorist coverage, it may be time to think about updating your policy. How Insurance Works Periodically, you’ll...

How to Make Sure Your Teen Drivers are Safe

How to Make Sure Your Teen Drivers are Safe

by | Feb 28, 2023 | blog,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

Teenage driver safety is an important part of preventing car crashes. A child's sixteenth birthday is the stuff of nightmares for most parents. While it marks the end...

Can You Get Compensation for a Hit and Run?

Can You Get Compensation for a Hit and Run?

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

Yes! You can. Even if the person at-fault for the collision has left the scene, you can still get some compensation through a benefit you’ve already paid for with your...

Protecting Pedestrians

Protecting Pedestrians

by | Feb 21, 2023 | blog,Catastrophic Injuries,Educational,Premises Liability,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

Help keep your community safe by taking steps to prevent pedestrian fatalities. Pedestrian Safety Is Important In Utah during 2022, there were 53 pedestrian fatalities,...

Can Jaywalking Pedestrians Sue

Can Jaywalking Pedestrians Sue? Is jaywalking illegal in Utah?

by | Feb 16, 2023 | Educational,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

An answer from a Utah pedestrian accident Lawyer We've all been there: driving down the road when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a pedestrian walks out right in...

Is M3GAN Hollywood's Latest and Greatest Lawsuit

Is M3GAN Hollywood’s Latest and Greatest Lawsuit

by | Feb 2, 2023 | blog,Educational,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

Is M3GAN Hollywood's Latest and Greatest Lawsuit? M3GAN is a 2023 horror film about a doll named M3GAN (pronounced the same way you’d pronounce Megan). From the...

Safety Tips for Women Who Live Alone

Safety Tips for Women Who Live Alone

by | Jan 31, 2023 | blog,Educational,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

Millions of American homes are expected to be burglarized this year, yet 75% of homes don’t have a security system. Even more concerning, statistics reveal that 27% of...

What If I Can't Afford a Lawyer

What happens if I can’t afford a lawyer 

by | Jan 26, 2023 | Educational | 0 Comments

Not every accident needs a personal injury attorney. For example, if you weren’t injured, you don’t need an attorney. However, if you were injured- you definitely do....