A tort is a private or civil wrong, injury for which the court will and can provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages. Negligence is a type of tort and is distinguished from many types of torts because the conduct does not have to be intentional. Unlike an intentional tort, (i.e. assault) negligence is the failure to do what a reasonable person would do in a like or similar circumstances. Thus, a claim for negligence looks at particular facts and circumstances if the conduct fell below the standard of care for the protection of others.
Academically, negligence has been stated as the existence of a duty of care, the breach of the duty of care, an injury and the breach was the proximate cause of the injury. See, Flowers v. K-Mart Corp., 126 Ariz. 490, 497, 616 P.2d 955 (App 1980).
However, to prove a case of negligence one must show that:
- a duty between the defendant and plaintiff existed;
- the standard of care, such as to act like a reasonably prudent person
- the defendant’s conduct fell below the standard of care;
- the plaintiff was injured;
- the harm was the cause in fact and would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s conduct;
- the defendant’s conduct was the proximate cause for the injury.
An example of negligence is after mopping a storeowner fails to put up a sign stating “caution wet floor.” If customers arrives and slips and injures themselves on the wet floor, that customer could sue the store-owner for negligence. Applying the elements above, a storeowner has a duty to warn customers of any known dangers. A reasonable storeowner would put up a sign warning of a wet floor and this particular storeowner failed to do so. The failure of the storeowner to put up a sign caused the customers injury. But for the store-owners failure to put up a sign the customer would not be injured. Finally, the customer’s injury is reasonably related to the defendant’s failure to put up a sign.
If you have been injured by the negligent conduct of another contact the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier at 928-774-5400. We represent people throughout Arizona in all types of accidents, from car accidents to slip and falls. We have offices located in Flagstaff and Cottonwood and offer free consultation to discuss your case.