What Are South Carolina’s “Negligence Per Se” Laws?

James Law Office, LLC

In the legal world, negligence refers to when someone fails their civic duty of acting in a way that minimizes harm to the general public. When someone acts negligently and causes a preventable accident, injured victims may be able to earn compensation for their injuries. However, there are certain personal injury cases that use a doctrine called “negligence per se”. If you’re unsure what this means, don’t worry because our knowledgeable law firm has all the answers you’ll need! Continue reading this blog to learn more, or reach out to a Darlington, South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer for individualized legal counseling.

What Does “Negligence per Se” Mean?

Negligence per se literally means negligence in itself. This concept essentially allows victims of personal injury accidents to earn compensation for their injuries much easier if the defendant (the person who caused the accident) broke a law that led to the victim’s injuries. For example, the doctrine can be used in scenarios where a drunk driver causes a car accident that injures another driver. Because driving under the influence is illegal to protect the general public, the defendant would already be considered negligent for breaking this law.

How Is Negligence Proven in Personal Injury Cases?

In most personal injury cases, the following four elements are required for proving negligence:

  • Duty – The defendant had a duty of reasonable care to act in a way that minimizes harm to others.
  • Breach – The defendant breached their duty of reasonable care by failing to act a certain way.
  • Causation – The defendant caused a preventable accident by breaching their duty of reasonable care.
  • Damages – The victim suffered as a result of the defendant’s failure to act properly.

However, negligence per se laws change the way that negligence is proven for personal injury cases involving a law violation. In these court cases, the first two steps of proving negligence – duty and breach – can be dismissed. This is because the defendant automatically breached their duty of care when they broke a law. The only exception would be if the law that was broken was not intended to protect the victim. An example would be if a pedestrian was injured after walking into a construction zone, and the broken safety law only protects construction workers.

Have you recently been injured in a preventable accident caused by someone violating a safety regulation? You might want to speak with a trusted personal injury attorney who can help you to determine your best options going forward. Thankfully, James Law Office is on your side! Contact our highly experienced team today for an initial consultation.

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