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What is Negligence?

According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, negligence means: “The failure to act as a reasonably prudent person would have acted under similar circumstances.”

This is the definition of negligence that applies in auto accident cases. When a victim of an auto accident wishes to pursue a claim for compensation after the accident, the victim can make a claim against a person or company whose negligence caused the crash. For example, the victim of an auto accident could pursue a case to recover compensation from the insurer of a driver who caused the accident by driving more carelessly than an average hypothetical reasonable person would have.

Negligence is important in most personal injury and wrongful death cases, even outside of car accidents, because a victim usually has to prove negligence occurred before the victim can be compensated.

However, there are exceptions. For example, in products liability claims, a legal doctrine called strict liability applies. Under strict liability rules, a victim does not have to prove negligence but instead can recover compensation whenever a set of facts is true. For product liability cases, for example, the victim could recover compensation if hurt when using a product as intended, regardless of negligence.

The definition of negligence can also vary depending upon the type of injury claim a victim is making. For example, medical negligence is defined not as being less careful than some hypothetical average person, but instead as providing medical care which is below the level of professional skill that a medical caregiver with a similar background would have offered.

Basically, this means a cardiologist would be compared not to an average person in judging whether he was negligent in not diagnosing a heart attack, but would instead be compared to an average cardiologist with a similar level of medical training.

To find out more about why negligence matters under the law, and to get help determining if you deserve compensation if a negligent person or company hurt you, contact a Charlotte, NC injury lawyer today.

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