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What is negligence? What are the five elements?

Negligence means the failure to take proper care to do something. For instance, most of us owe a duty of due care in our interactions with other people. This duty of care could be the duty of a driver to drive safely, the duty of a property owner to maintain the premises in a safe condition, the duty of an employer to provide a safe workplace, or the duty of a physician to treat patients with the appropriate standard of care.

The five elements of a personal injury negligence claim are: 1) a duty owed to the victim; 2) breach of that duty by failure to act with due care; 3) the breach of duty caused injury to the victim (known as cause in fact); 4) the breach of duty was the “proximate” (legal) cause of the injury (there were no intervening or superseding causes); and 5) the victim suffered a physical injury, property damage or other harm that can be compensated through money damages.

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