Have you been injured in New York City as a result of an accident? Do you believe it could have been prevented? This experience may leave you facing many challenges, including costly medical bills, lost wages, and more.

You don’t necessarily need to absorb the cost of these losses on your own. It may be possible to recover financial compensation by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. This is an option when your accident was the result of another party’s negligence.

(Note: There are exceptions to this requirement. For example, you may have been injured in a car accident. New York is a no-fault state. Therefore, you can file a claim for compensation with your own insurance in these circumstances — regardless of who caused your accident.)

It helps to understand the difference between negligence and “negligence per se” if you are seeking compensation. An attorney can also help you better understand the importance of proving negligence or negligence per se if you are planning on filing a claim or lawsuit.

What is Negligence?

 In the context of personal injury cases, negligence refers to the unreasonable carelessness of an individual or individuals that results in harm to someone else.

For instance, premises liability laws require property owners and managers keep their premises reasonably safe for guests. An example of this would be a supermarket. A supermarket owner and their employees must keep an eye out for items that have fallen to the floor. These hazards can cause slip and fall accidents when customers trip over them. Therefore, they must be identified and removed within a reasonable timeframe.

Maybe you were injured because you tripped over an item in the grocery store. Was the owner of the store negligent in a way that gives you justification to file a claim or lawsuit?

Potentially. You must be aware; you don’t always have grounds to recover compensation after being injured. In this scenario, you would need to gather evidence showing that the item over which you tripped had fallen long before your accident and should have been removed in a timely manner. If you tripped over an item a moment after it fell to the floor, you could not argue your accident resulted from negligence.

This is one of many reasons it is wise to consult with an attorney if you’re not sure whether you should take legal action after being injured. They can let you know whether it sounds like negligence was a factor in your accident. Additionally, they can help you gather evidence proving negligence.

What is Negligence Per Se?

Proving you were injured because someone was negligent can be challenging without conducting a thorough investigation. On the other hand, proving negligence per se in a personal injury case is often much easier.

In the above example, whether a supermarket owner is negligent when a customer trips over an item on the floor is subjective. There are no official laws in New York stating exactly how much time a property owner or manager has to spot a tripping hazard and remove it.

Proving negligence per se involves citing actual laws and regulations to show a victim is eligible for compensation. The concept of negligence per se states that someone who caused an accident is assumed to have been negligent if they were breaking the law when the accident occurred. Importantly, the law must be designed to protect the safety of others.

For example, maybe you were injured in a truck accident. Perhaps the trucker was speeding at the time of the crash and you were not. In this case, the fact that the trucker was speeding may be enough evidence to prove negligence. They were violating traffic laws designed to protect others on the road.

You will still need an attorney’s help in a case that may involve negligence per se. Even if the liable party was breaking the law when your accident occurred, you will still have a greater chance of recovering fair compensation with a lawyer on your side. It’s simply helpful to familiarize yourself with the difference between these two types of negligence.