What exactly is “Negligence Per Se”?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may have heard the term “negligence per se” in regards to your case. Negligence per se is what is used to determine whether or not negligence directly resulted in your injury. This could include anything from texting while driving to speeding to reckless driving in hazardous weather conditions. In order to prove negligence per se you must be able to show that:
- The plaintiff broke the law.
- The law broken was written in order to prevent the type of injury you sustained.
- You are the type of person the law was intended to protect.
- Your injury is a direct result of the law being broken.
For instance, let’s say the defendant was texting while driving, which resulted in their drifting over the centerline and striking your car. If you broke your arm in the crash, it might be possible to prove negligence per se. This scenario fulfills all of these requirements.
First of all, the plaintiff broke the law by texting while driving. The second condition is fulfilled because the law against texting while driving is to prevent drivers from causing accidents because they are paying attention to their phone rather than the road. Third, other drivers fall under the category of people this law is designed to protect. And finally, breaking your arm in the crash is a direct result of their negligence.
It’s important to note that negligence per se can be used against you as the plaintiff as well. For example, if you were the one texting while driving when another vehicle struck you, they might be able to prove that your distraction was “contributory negligence.” In other words, your texting hindered your ability to react to the situation effectively, putting you at some degree of fault.
If you have any questions about how negligence per se could affect your personal injury case, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced attorneys at Oxner + Permar for a free 30-minute consultation.