Hello, I’m attorney Kyle Bachus. The legal world is full of overly complicated jargon and terminology that can be intimidating if you don’t know what it means. In my law 101 video series, I’m breaking down some commonly used legal terms so you can be informed and confident should you ever need to take legal action. In this episode of law 101, we’re going to talk about the term negligence.

Now negligence in the legal world actually has two different meanings.

Think of it like New York, New York, right? If you say, New York, New York, you said New York the city and then you have New York the state. Negligence also has two definitions: first negligence itself is just the failure to act reasonably under the circumstances in terms of your interaction with others, that’s it. But the second definition of negligence has to do with negligence the tort. Negligence the tort requires that you prove three things. First, you have to have a duty to act reasonably, which we all have in almost all circumstances.

You have to breach that duty and that breach of duty has to result in harm, actual harm in terms of injury to the person that you failed to act reasonably towards. The combination of that negligence, that breach of that duty, and the harm is the tort of negligence. That’s what negligence means in both settings under the law. An example of the tort of negligence would be let’s say you’re a homeowner, and you have a duty to make sure that the sidewalk in front of your home is kept free from ice and snow.

Let’s say that you have that duty, but you fail to go out there and put salt or shovel your sidewalk. And as a result, somebody walks down your sidewalk, and that’s a foreseeable thing for people to be doing. And somebody slips and falls on ice or snow that you failed to remove despite having a duty to do so. The combination of all of the above, meaning your duty, your failure to do what your duty required, and the resulting injury is negligence, the tort of negligence.

At Bachus and Schanker, one of the things that we do is represent people who are victims of the tort of negligence. So if you think that you’ve been the victim of the tort of negligence, as I just described it. Feel free to reach out to Bachus and Schanker, and we’ll be happy to answer any additional questions you might have. To learn more about other law topics that can help you feel informed and confident about the law, make sure to check out more videos in this series.