What Constitutes Negligence Under the Law?

Across the United States, all wrongfully injured victims are entitled to compensation in the event that they have been harmed by the negligent actions of another—meaning that the responsible party did not intend to cause another person harm when they decided to act in an irresponsible manner. Even so, any behavior that endangers, and subsequently injures, another person is grounds for a civil lawsuit. Under the law, however, liability must be proven in order to make a valid personal injury case against the negligent individual. So what legally constitutes negligence?

In the state of Louisiana, negligence can be defined as the failure to exercise a reasonable amount of care, therefore breaching an inherent duty to keep another person safe from harm. In essence, this means that if someone has a responsibility to uphold a duty of care—for example, a medical professional is accountable for providing adequate treatment to any patients under their care, just as anyone getting behind the wheel is responsible for adhering to the rules of the road—they may be held liable for failing to do so. Certain exemptions exist, however, including any instance in which an "assumption of risk" is directly implied or stated.

For example, if a hockey fan is struck by a flying puck while attending a game, the stadium cannot be held liable for the accident, as it has happened during the natural course of the game. If that same fan was to be involved in a scuffle with another angry fan and the stadium's security failed to adequately protect the victim, however, this is no longer categorized as an assumption of risk. For this reason, they would be able to pursue a civil lawsuit—though the way in which compensation is awarded for unjustified injuries differs from state to state, as it depends on whether a system of comparative or contributory negligence is followed.

In Louisiana, pure comparative negligence is used as a means of placing fault upon both the plaintiff and the defendant in any personal injury case. This means that if a victim was in any way responsible for contributing to their own injuries, the amount of compensation that they will subsequently be awarded will be diminished by the percentage of fault that a jury has decided upon. In many states, comparative negligence allows for a victim to recover damages as long as they are not more than 50% responsible for causing their own harm, but in Louisiana, a victim may still obtain a certain amount of compensation regardless of their own fault.

If you have been injured at the hands of a negligent or reckless individual and you are unsure of whether or not you have grounds to pursue legal action, you should not hesitate to speak to a Shreveport personal injury lawyer from our firm today. In doing so, you may be able to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your rights as a victim.

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