Negligence Per Se Atlanta Georgia
If an individual is injured because of the actions of another, she may be able to recover her damages if she can prove that the other person was negligent. As mentioned in previous posts, to prove that another person has acted negligently, you generally must demonstrate that the person acted unreasonably under the circumstances, which can sometimes be hard to do.
Under Georgia state law, one way you can prove unreasonable conduct is to show that the Defendant violated a statute. For example, let’s assume that the Defendant was speeding or ran a red light. As a result, the Defendant caused an auto accident, and another driver on the road was injured. We all know that both speeding and running a red light are against the law in every state in the United States. However, that does not automatically mean that the Defendant is liable for the Plaintiff’s injuries under the doctrine of negligence per se. Instead, you have three requirements to prove to invoke the doctrine:
- The injured Plaintiff must be within the class of persons that the law was intended to protect. In the case of the speeding car, the law against speeding was designed to protect drivers. Therefore, if another driver is hit by a speeding car, she is within the class of people the statute is designed to protect.
- Again, in the case of the speeding car, the law was intended to protect against people suffering an injury as a result of an automobile accident. Because the Plaintiff was injured in a car accident, she suffered the type of harm the statute was meant to protect against.
- Finally, you have to show that the Defendant’s violation of the statute was not excused. In other words, if the Defendant has an excuse for breaking the law, the doctrine of negligence per se will not apply. In the case of the speeding car, if the Defendant was speeding because he was rushing to the hospital to save a dying passenger in the vehicle, his conduct may be excused, and negligence per se will not apply. However, if there was no excuse for his speeding, the Plaintiff may be able to prove negligence per se and avail herself of the doctrine to prove that the Defendant owed her a duty of care to drive at the speed limit, and he breached that duty of care by recklessly driving over the speed limit.
Here’s the twist: Just because a Plaintiff can prove negligence per se does not mean that the Plaintiff automatically wins her negligence case. Rather, she must also still prove causation and damages. For example, if the accident was caused because the Plaintiff swerved to avoid a hazard in the road and not because the Defendant was speeding, then the Defendant will not be liable for negligence because the Plaintiff cannot prove both actual and proximate cause.