Skip to Main Content

Negligence Per Se in Car Accident Claims: What You Need to Know

Explore the pivotal role of negligence per se in car accident claims, simplifying proof and expediting justice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Negligence per se presumes fault when traffic laws are broken.
  • It shifts the proof burden, favoring plaintiffs.
  • Essential in speeding up legal outcomes in car accidents.

In car accident claims, negligence plays a pivotal role in determining liability and seeking compensation for damages. However, the legal concept of “negligence per se” is particularly noteworthy. This doctrine automatically deems individuals negligent if they violate a relevant statute or regulation designed to prevent the type of harm that occurred. Understanding negligence per se is essential for expediting legal proceedings and simplifying the burden of proof for plaintiffs in car accident cases.

Understanding Negligence Per Se

Negligence per se simplifies the burden of proof for plaintiffs by focusing on the violation of a statute or regulation rather than traditional elements like breach of duty, causation, and damages. It’s a legal doctrine where automatic negligence is presumed if:

  • An individual violates a statute or regulation meant to prevent a specific harm.
  • Not all violations result in negligence per se; courts consider factors such as the law’s intended purpose and its direct contribution to the plaintiff’s harm.
  • This principle has significant implications in legal contexts like car accidents, medical malpractice, and premises liability cases.

What Is Negligence Per Se?

Legal Definition

Negligence per se is a legal doctrine that presumes negligence if an individual violates a statute or regulation intended to prevent a specific harm. Unlike ordinary negligence where plaintiffs must prove a breach of duty, causation, and damages, negligence per se simplifies the burden of proof by focusing on the violation.

How Negligence Per Se Differs from Ordinary Negligence

  • Negligence is automatically presumed upon the violation of a statute or regulation, whereas in ordinary negligence, plaintiffs must prove all elements of negligence.
  • Negligence per se shifts the burden of proof from proving a breach of duty to establishing the violation of the law.
  • Unlike ordinary negligence, negligence per se does not require plaintiffs to demonstrate the foreseeability of harm; instead, the violation of the law itself establishes negligence.


Elements of Negligence Per Se?

Statutory Violation

  • Negligence per se requires that the defendant violated a statute or regulation.
  • The violation must be clear and established.

Intended Prevention of Harm

  • The statute or regulation violated must be intended to prevent the type of harm the plaintiff suffered.
  • This requirement ensures the law is directly related to the harm alleged by the plaintiff.

Protection of Plaintiff Class

  • The plaintiff must belong to the class of persons the statute aims to protect.
  • This ensures the plaintiff’s interests align with the purpose of the law violated by the defendant.

The Role of Negligence Per Se in Car Accident Claims

Application of Negligence Per Se in Car Accidents

Statutory Violations

Negligence per se can apply in car accidents when the defendant violates traffic laws or regulations, such as:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding or reckless driving
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Texting while driving or other forms of distracted driving

Automatic Presumption of Negligence

If the defendant is found to have violated any of these statutes or regulations, negligence per se presumes that the defendant was negligent. Plaintiffs are relieved from proving the defendant’s breach of duty, as the violation of the law itself establishes negligence.

Impact on Legal Proceedings

Negligence per se simplifies the burden of proof for plaintiffs and can expedite the resolution of car accident claims. It provides a clear basis for establishing liability and seeking compensation for damages suffered in the accident.


Proving Negligence Per Se in Court

Evidence Required

To establish negligence per se in court, plaintiffs must provide evidence demonstrating:

  • The defendant’s violation of a relevant statute or regulation.
  • The statute or regulation was intended to prevent the type of harm suffered by the plaintiff.
  • The plaintiff belongs to the class of persons the law aims to protect.

Role of Police Reports and Witness Statements

Police reports and witness statements can serve as crucial pieces of evidence in proving negligence per se. Police reports may document violations of traffic laws or regulations at the scene of the accident, providing official evidence of the defendant’s conduct. Witness statements can corroborate the plaintiff’s account of the events leading to the accident and may further establish the defendant’s violation of the law.

Impact on Legal Proceedings

The availability and strength of evidence related to the statutory violation play a significant role in the success of proving negligence per se in court. Well-documented evidence, such as police reports and credible witness statements, can strengthen the plaintiff’s case and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome in legal proceedings.

Comparing Negligence Per Se and Ordinary Negligence

Key Differences

Legal Standards and Burden of Proof

Negligence per se automatically presumes negligence upon violation of a statute or regulation and shifts the burden of proof from proving a breach of duty to demonstrating the violation of the law.

Ordinary negligence requires plaintiffs to prove breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Impact on the Outcome of Negligence Lawsuits

Negligence per se simplifies the burden of proof for plaintiffs, can expedite legal proceedings, and provides a clear basis for establishing liability.

Ordinary negligence requires plaintiffs to meet traditional elements of negligence and may involve more complex legal proceedings and evidence presentation.

Defenses Against Negligence Per Se Claims

Common Legal Defenses

  • Lack of statutory violation: Defendants may argue they did not violate the statute or regulation in question.
  • Compliance with the law: Defendants may assert they adhered to the requirements of the statute or regulation, thus avoiding negligence per se.
  • Lack of causation: Defendants may argue their actions did not directly cause the plaintiff’s harm, despite any alleged violation.

Counter Claims of Statutory Violations

  • Challenging applicability: Defendants may contest whether the statute or regulation applies to the circumstances of the case.
  • Disputing interpretation: Defendants may dispute the interpretation of the statute or regulation and argue that their actions did not constitute a violation.
  • Presenting evidence: Defendants may provide evidence to rebut the plaintiff’s allegations of statutory violations, such as witness testimony or expert analysis.

The Impact of Negligence Per Se on Compensation

Understanding Damages in Negligence Lawsuits 

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

  • Economic damages are tangible losses like medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Non-economic damages are intangible losses such as pain and suffering and reduced earning capacity.

The Impact of Negligence Per Se on Damages

Negligence per se:

  • Simplifies the calculation of damage.
  • Relieves plaintiffs from proving a breach of duty.
  • Provides a basis for assessing the severity of harm.

Settlements and Verdicts 

Role of Negligence Per Se

  • In negotiations
    • Strengthens plaintiffs’ positions by establishing automatic negligence
    • Encourages defendants to settle to avoid trial consequences
  • In trial outcomes
    • Simplifies the burden of proof for plaintiffs
    • Challenges defendants in disputing liability
    • Influences verdicts and damages awarded to plaintiffs

Navigating Negligence Per Se Claims: Steps to Take After a Car Accident 

Immediate Actions Post-Accident

  • Ensure everyone’s safety, and seek medical attention if needed.
  • Contact law enforcement, and obtain a police report.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party.

Collecting Evidence for a Negligence Per Se Claim

  • Document the scene with photographs or videos, including any relevant road signs or signals.
  • Gather witness statements and contact information.
  • Preserve any physical evidence, such as vehicle damage or skid marks.
  • Obtain medical records and bills related to injuries sustained in the accident.

Importance of Legal Representation in a Negligence Case

  • A skilled attorney can assess the viability of a negligence per se claim and guide you through the legal process.
  • Legal representation ensures your rights are protected and helps navigate negotiations with insurance companies.
  • An attorney can gather and present evidence effectively, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome in your case.

Get the Justice and Compensation You Deserve

Negligence per se plays a pivotal role in simplifying the legal process for car accident claims, offering plaintiffs a streamlined path to establishing liability and seeking compensation. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to Naqvi Injury Law for a free consultation. Our experienced team is ready to assess your case and provide the guidance you need to navigate the complexities of the legal system. 


Hercell Ruiz
Hercell Ruiz
You never expect to get involved into an accident but fortunately Naqvi is here in Vegas, I called after I was involved into an accident and from the very first moment they were emphatic and professional, my case manager Kimmy was AMAZING and professional throughout the whole process. Thank you Kimmy. 100% Recommended.
Stacey Novotny
Stacey Novotny
I had a complicated case and they knew how to get me the most out of it! Thank you, Nikki and Sam!!!!!
Cassandra Featherhat
Cassandra Featherhat
Jason a Tara were awesome. Thank you guys so much. I recommend them to anyone. Thank you guys so much for your services.
bre roach
bre roach
I had a great experience with Naqvi Injury Law. My lawyer Michael and case manager Abi were great! Micheal and Abi stayed on top of things throughout the entire process and always kept me informed of any new updates on my case. I am definitely happy with my decision in choosing Naqvi and would highly recommend them to anyone who needs an amazing law firm!
Bobby Ruelas
Bobby Ruelas
Jason, Kimberly, and the entire Naqvi staff provided nothing but exceptional service throughout my entire case! I highly recommend them Naqvi is the best!
Valerie Garcia
Valerie Garcia
I was in an accident in July and went to NAQVI injury law to get represented. The whole process was smooth and I am very happy with the outcome of my case, thanks to my attorney Ana and the whole team at Naqvi.
Celeste venegas
Celeste venegas
Although this was a long experience (most cases are) it was worth while. We came in to this case worried about not being properly represented, or being taken advantage of because of our younger age; However, Jake Suty and Ashley Cortez were extremely helpful and determined to get not only the settlement but the treatment we deserve as any other human being. They worked with us even when we had a million questions and concerns. and were able to help push for a settlement that was more fair to us than originally offered. They were comforting, knowledgeable, and overall pleasing regarding energy. Hopefully we never have to go through this again, but if we did, I know where I will be returning! Thank you all at Naqvi for your help!
Aaryana Most
Aaryana Most
Jake Suty and Ashley Cortez were beyond communicative and helpful throughout our journey. The dedication and commitment to our case was obvious, which was greatly appreciated. Upon walking into the building, I was always greeted kindly and with a smile. Jake was always available to answer any questions I may have had and took the time to provide complete detail and thorough explanations. Thank you!
jay p
jay p
If you are ever in need of a good attorney, Naqvi Injury Law should be your first stop. After a very stressful accident this was mine and I have zero regrets! Every time I called I was greeted bubbly, caring people on the other line,shout out to their intake dept! They would always ask how I was feeling so far before even connecting me to the person assisting with my case. Maggie worked diligently on getting me situated from beginning to end and communicated with me every step of the way. Meghan my attorney communicated with the insurances companies and made sure I was compensated for everything I had been through. She made sure I was comfortable with what I was getting and consulted everything with me! Thank you all for making this experience a seamless one. They aren’t all talk and get things done!
Armando Garcia
Armando Garcia
I recommend Naqvi Sabina and Jason took care off me and always kept me well imformed about my case they showed me step by step what was happening with my case. Thank you alot Naqvi law and thank you Sabina and Jason