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A Look Back at the Origins of Negligence Law

Personal injury claims are usually based on the theory of negligence. If you have been injured by the negligence of another person or a company, then you should contact the Atlanta injury attorneys at Goldstein & Hayes, PC as soon as possible. Negligence is a person or company’s failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another. Basically, it is when someone else hurts you by not doing what he or she is supposed to do. When this happens you may be able to file a personal injury claim in court. Negligence claims are an old part of our legal system with an interesting history.

First, What is a Tort?

Torts are wrongful acts (other than a breach of contract) that lead to a civil cause of action. That is, they are misdeeds that give someone the right to sue someone else as opposed to misdeeds that give the government the right to prosecute you in criminal court. Sometimes there is overlap, like in drunk driving accident cases. The state may try to put the drunk driver in jail or prison for battery and DUI, while the victim may sue the drunk driver in civil court to receive financial compensation. The lawsuit filed by the victim is a tort.

Intentional Torts v. Negligence

There are two types of torts: intentional torts and negligence. Intentional torts are just that - bad acts that are done intentionally to hurt someone. Negligence, on the other hand, is caused by a person being careless, rather than his or her having an intention to do the wrong thing. The driver who is distracted while talking on his cell phone does not intend to to hit the car in front of him. He hits the car in front of him because he is being careless.

Negligence as Common Law

Most of the United States is a common law jurisdiction in at least some respects. This means that rather than all of the law being statutory, some of it is based on judicial custom and precedent that date back hundreds of years. This differs from statutory law systems like those found in continental Europe, Louisiana, and in most states’ criminal codes. Negligence is part of the common law tradition. It first showed up as a tort in its own right in a case from 1850 called Brown v. Kendall. In that case the defendant accidentally hit the plaintiff with a stick when he was using the stick to try to break up a fight between he and the plaintiff’s dogs. The court held that when a defendant injures another unintentionally while doing something lawful, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was acting without due care in order to recover for his injuries.

Contact Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to the negligence of another, the experienced attorneys at Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. are here to help you with your case.Contact us today for a free consultation.