What Is Negligence Per Se in an Injury Case?

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In Nevada, individuals who break the law and cause an injury or wrongful death in the process are liable under the doctrine of negligence per se. Many accidents are the result of conscious decisions to violate the law. When an individual deliberately places others at risk of harm, the plaintiff has a lower bar to surmount to establish the guilty party’s liability.

Establishing Negligence Per Se in Nevada

Proving negligence per se in Nevada requires establishing that an individual or company violated the law. It also requires establishing that the law that was broken was intended to protect individuals from the types of injuries the victim suffered. Finally, individuals must establish a connection between the individual’s actions and the injuries the victim suffered. Negligence per se is essentially a type of strict liability because it results from a direct violation of statutes or regulations.  

Examples of Negligence Per Se

There are many examples of negligence per se. These include a drunk driver who violates the traffic code and causes a motor vehicle accident while intoxicated. It includes contractors whose violation of building codes create hazardous conditions that lead to a fire, building collapse, etc. It includes trucking companies that coerce drivers into violating hours of service regulations, causing them to drive drowsy and cause drowsy driving truck accidents as a result. Other examples of negligence per se include reckless driving, driving without a license, practicing medicine without a license, not keeping a dog on a leash, or failing to properly maintain a vehicle.  

Damages Don’t Change

Whether the court decides that the individual is guilty of negligence or negligence per se, this won’t change the damages awarded. There are no additional damages awarded for negligence per se. The value of pursuing negligence per se arises from the fact that it is often easier to establish a clear case of negligence per se than negligence.

It is also much more difficult to defend against when the facts and evidence show that laws designed to protect the public were broken and subsequently resulted in injuries or death. When the defendant’s actions are considered justified or excusable, or when the plaintiff is not covered under the referenced statute or regulation, however, there may be exceptions.