Negligence is a legal term that is commonly used in personal injury claims. Personal injury claims will usually result from one of two courses of action by the defendant: intentional torts or negligence. An intentional tort is an act, such as assault and battery, that is purposely done, and very likely to bring about injurious consequences.
Negligence is usually thought of as a lack of care; however, it can still be committed even if the party exercises the level of care that he or she believes is necessary. Regardless, it is an act that results in injury to a plaintiff because of the defendant's failure to prevent this injury. Personal injury claims based on negligence will vary as a result of the facts of the individual circumstances of the case. This means that the level of negligence will often be based on the competence of the defendant.
Both defendants and plaintiffs involved in personal injury claims will be held to the reasonable person standard. In a negligence case this will often be shifted to the defendant. The reasonable person standard means that a defendant's actions will be based on how reasonable people in a similar situation would conduct themselves. This is an objective test which is why it has been based on the rulings of prior negligence court cases.
For cases where a person will have physical or mental limitations, the reasonable person standard will be shifted. In this case, the reasonable person will become a reasonable person with the same mental or physical circumstances as the defendant. However, this does not excuse a person's actions in a negligence case who is abnormally rash or unreasonable. It will still hold the defendant to a somewhat strict standard of conduct. Personal injury claims of negligence will usually not include liability of children.
Unless a child is engaging in an activity that is normally exclusive to adults, then the child will be held to a different standard of conduct. Usually a child under six years old will not be held liable for his or her actions. If a child's actions have injured a plaintiff, and this plaintiff brings about a personal injury claim, it is possible for the parents to be held liable. This is because a reasonable person is expected to have at least some level of control over his or her children.
The amount of negligence will also depend of the mental capacity of the defendant. This will only be the case, however, if the defendant's mental capacity is severely impacted by a mental illness. The extend to which people lack intelligence; will generally not give them a reason to escape liability. In negligence cases, the standard of care is considerably elevated for those considered to be professionals.
This means that, instead of holding someone to the way a reasonable person would act in a situations, professionals are held to the way a professional person would act. Professionals involved in negligence personal injury claims are often doctors and attorneys. A personal injury judge will examine all aspects of a defendant before deciding what level of negligence he or she is responsible for.