Lack of Care
A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.
Primary factors to consider in ascertaining whether the person's conduct lacks reasonable care are the foreseeable likelihood that the person's conduct will result in harm, the foreseeable severity of any harm that may ensue, and the burden of precautions to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm. Negligent conduct may consist of either an act, or an omission to act when there is a duty to do so.
Four elements are required to establish a prima facie case of negligence:
- the existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff
- defendant's breach of that duty
- plaintiff's sufferance of an injury
- proof that defendant's breach caused the injury (typically defined through proximate cause)