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Failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Contains 3 elements: Breach of duty of care, Proximate Cause, and Injury

Reasonable Person Standard

Duty of care required to avoid being negligent; refers to one who is careful, diligent, and prudent


must conform to conduct of a reasonable person of like age, intelligence, and experience

Physical disability

A disabled person's conduct must conform to that of a reasonable person under like disability

Mental deficiency

A mentally deficient person is held to the reasonable person standard of a reasonable person who is not mentally deficient.

Superior skill or knowledge

Professionals must exercise the same skill normally possessed by members of their profession


The reasonable person standard applies, but the emergency is considered part of the circumstances


Sudden, unexpected event calling for immediate attention

Violation of statute

If the statute applies, the violation is negligence per se

Negligence per se

conclusive on the issue of negligence (duty of care and breach)

Duty to Act

Except in special circumstances, no one is required to aid another in peril

Duty to Trespassers

Not to injure intentionally


Person who enters or remains on the land of another without permission to do so

Duty to licensees

To warn of known dangerous conditions licensees are unlikely to discover for themselves.


Person privileged to enter or remain on land by virtue of the consent of the lawful possessor

Duty to invitees

To exercise reasonable care to protect invitees against dangerous conditions possessor should know but invitees are unlikely to discover


Person invited upon land as a member of the public or for a business purpose

Res Ipsa Loquitur

"the thing speaks for itself"; permits the jury to infer both negligent conduct and causation

Causation in fact

The defendant's conduct was the actual cause of, or a substantial factor in causing, the injury

But for rule

Conduct is a cause of an event if the event would not have occurred in the absence of the person's negligent conduct

Unforseeable Consequences

No liability if defendant could not reasonably have anticipated injuring the plaintiff or a class of persons to which the plaintiff belongs

Superseding Cause

Intervening event that occurs after the defendant's negligent conduct and relieves her of liability

Harm to legally protected interest

Courts determine which interests are protected from negligent interference

Contributory negligence

Failure of a plaintiff to exercise reasonable care such as the failure is a legal cause of the plaintiff's harm

Last Clear Chance

Final opportunity to avoid an injury

Comparative negligence

Doctrine dividing damages between the plaintiff and defendant where the negligence of each has caused the harm

Express assumption of the risk

Plaintiff's express consent to encounter a known danger

Strict Liability

Liability for nonintentional and nonnegligent conduct

Abnormally dangerous activities

Involve a high degree of risk of serious harm and are not matters of common usage

Keeping of animals

Strict liability is imposed for wild animals and usually for trespassing domestic animals

Products liability

Imposed upon manufacturers and merchants who sell goods in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer

Contributory negligence

Not a defense to strict liability

Comparative negligence

most states apply this doctrine to products liability cases

Assumption of a risk

a defense to an action based upon strict liability

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