In law, negligence can refer to any number of acts or circumstances that lead to injury, harm, or negative consequences. It’s a deep area of law that requires experience and knowledge to navigate. While people typically think of premises liability or slips and falls, there are dozens of other types of negligence that could affect anyone on any given day.

What Is Negligence?

As a starting point, it’s important that you understand what exactly negligence is. According to its legal definition, negligence is a “failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances or taking action which such a reasonable person would not.” In other words, it is some act of disregard toward the well-being of those around you.

There are generally considered four elements of a negligence claim, all of which must be proved and satisfied in order to show that the defendant acted negligently in a given situation.

Elements of  a Negligence Claim

Duty of Care

It must be shown that the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff under the given circumstances. This is one of the more complex areas of any negligence case and often comes down to the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant. For example, a doctor certainly owes a duty of care to his patient to provide quality medical care. However, a convenient store owner may not owe a duty of care to an individual that breaks into her store in the middle of the night.

Breach of Duty

If it is proven that the defendant had some level of duty of care, then it must be proven that there was a breach of that duty. This refers to the “reasonable or prudent person” part of the negligence definition and requires that the plaintiff acted as an average person would in the same situation.


Next comes the actual damages, injuries, or consequences. Was the plaintiff injured or harmed in the situation? This can usually be proven by medical records and firsthand accounts.


Finally, it must be proven that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries or suffering. This could be as a result of action or inaction, but some level of causation must be present. It is possible for causality to be proportioned to both the plaintiff and the defendant.

Types of Negligence

There are a number of different forms, types, and categories of negligence. Some of the most common include the following:

Gross Negligence

This is the most obvious form of negligence and goes beyond careless action. It usually shows a total lack of concern for others.

Comparative Negligence

This is where both parties are partially responsible for the injuries or suffering, but the defendant is still required to pay some portion of the damages.

Contributory Negligence

In these situations, the plaintiff caused the injury and cannot collect damages. An example could be sustaining injuries after failing to wear a seatbelt – when a car manufacturer explicitly states you must.

Acts of negligence can include anything but typically involve auto accidents, product liability, professional medical malpractice, wrongful death, toxic exposure, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, aviation disasters, bicycling accidents, and more.

Have You Been Injured in Kansas City, Missouri? You Should Speak With an Experienced Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer

If you've been injured in the Kansas City area you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.

Spencer Eisenmenger
Helping Kansas City area medical malpractice, product liability, birth injury and personal injury clients.