Negligence Per Se

Personal injury cases involving negligence can be complicated and involve several charges, depending on the circumstances of the case. One of the charges a defendant may face in a personal injury case is negligence per se.

Per Se Defined

Per se is a Latin term meaning “of itself.”  In regard to the law, a person can be charged with a per se violation if his or her actions violated a specific statute. If the court finds that the defendant’s actions were illegal or in violation of a statute, the defendant will be deemed negligent. The charge of negligence per se does not take into account whether or not another individual would have taken the same actions as the defendant in the same situation. The only question before the court with a per se charge is whether or not the defendant acted in a manner that violated the law.

Specific Statues Applied to Per Se

Although negligence per se is a relatively straightforward charge, the plaintiff cannot pick and choose any statute to charge the defendant in violation of. The statute must be a “safety statute”; that is, one that is intended to provide protection to citizens, such as building codes or traffic laws. If the defendant allegedly violated one of these, the prosecution has grounds to charge him or her with negligence per se, and must then prove in court that the statute was indeed violated.

Negligence per se is one of many charges that can be levied in a personal injury suit. A qualified and experienced personal injury attorney can help answer any additional questions you have about this charge or any other specifics of your case.