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What is required to prove a negligence claim?

When Pottsville residents are dealing with something that is dangerous, they typically exercise a great deal of care and caution to ensure they do not injure themselves or anyone else. Unfortunately, not everyone else exercises this same level of caution, as seen in cases where a negligent driver causes a truck accident and injures others.

Last week, this blog discussed a Pennsylvania case where a defendant was seeking to strike allegations of recklessness from a civil complaint. While it remains to be seen how that particular matter will be resolved, the case highlights a discussion about what does and what does not constitute negligence.

Under Pennsylvania law, negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise the degree of care required in the situation. This is not the same as recklessness, which is a different standard under the law.

Nor is negligence the same as intentional conduct, where a person intends to do something harmful toward another person. Negligence does not require any intentional conduct, and if something intentional occurred, it typically would constitute a separate legal claim under the law.

The particular care that is required may depend on the circumstances of the case. For example, in a case where someone is injured in a truck accident, the test examines whether the truck driver exercised the level of care that should be exercised by truck drivers on the road. If the injured plaintiff can show that the truck driver violated this standard, the truck driver can be held liable in the case and forced to pay compensation for the injuries.

Source: Findlaw, “Pennsylvania negligence laws,” accessed on Mar. 5, 2016