WHAT IS NEGLIGIENCE IN LAW ?? DEFINITION AND CASES

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To define to a layman the word negligence, one should see it in the light carelessness or an act or omission done which infringe on another person’s right due to nonchalant act of another. This is believed to be a wrong in Law of tort.

According to Lord Wright he supposed that Negligence in strict legal analysis : Negligence means more than heedless or careless conduct, whether in omission or commission; it properly connotes the complex concept of duty, breach and damage thereby suffered by the person.

In line with the above, Perkins would rather understand negligence as:Any condition intentionally or wantonly and wilfully disregardful of an interest of others which falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.

Butterworth’s medical Dictionary defines negligence as: An act of omission to do something which reasonable person would ordinarily do, or the doing of something which a reasonable person would not do.

The court in Blyth v Birmingham Waterworks co. defined negligence as an omission of something which a reasonable man would do and the doing of an act which a reasonable man would not do. The position was re-echod in Heaven v Pender, the courts held that the presumption of duty of care arises when one person is placed in a position with regard to

another person or property, it is in ordinary sense that if he does not use reasonable ordinary care in his conducts, he would cause danger or injury towards the other person or property.

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Cross on the other hand defines negligence as: Non-compliance with a standard of conduct and it involves blame worthy inadvertence to the circumstance and consequences mentioned in the definition of the act charged”.

In Conclusion, the tort of negligence may therefore be defined broadly as the breach of a legal duty to take care which results in damage, undesired by the defendant, to
the plaintiff.” There are three elements to the tort:
1. A duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff,
2. Breach of that duty by the defendant; and

3. Damage to the plaintiff resulting from the breach.”

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