Many personal injury cases rest on the legal theory of negligence.  Negligence means the failure to use reasonable care. The Plaintiff in a negligence lawsuit has the burden of proving that the Defendant owed a duty of care to the Plaintiff, breached that duty and caused the Plaintiff an injury and damages.  Proving a negligence case requires evidence of each of these elements. Putting forth the necessary proof can often be time-consuming and expensive.


The negligence per se doctrine in Florida provides a legal shortcut, making it easier to prove the case. It is often relied upon by experienced personal injury and accident attorneys alike.   If the elements of negligence per se are shown, negligence is established as a matter of law.

Elements of Negligence Per Se

In order for this doctrine to be successfully applied, the Plaintiff will need to prove four key elements:

*             The Defendant violated a statute or ordinance;

*             The statute or ordinance is a safety statute;

*             The Plaintiff is a member of the class in which the statute intended to protect;

*             The Defendant’s actions caused the kind of injury that the statute was intended to prevent.

Examples of Negligence Per Se

One of the best examples of negligence per se’s application would be a Driving Under the Influence or DUI case.  Driving under the Influence is illegal in the State of Florida. Florida Statute Section 316.193 defines when a person is guilty of driving under the influence. Clearly, this is a safety statute meant to protect other drivers and pedestrians.  The harm to be avoided by this statute is bodily injury or death caused by the impaired driver.  When an impaired driver violates this statute, negligence per se applies. Dog bites are another example of cases where negligence per se can apply based upon violation of leash laws.

While negligence per se will not apply in every situation, when it does, it often translates into a quicker, better resolution to your injury claim.   Consultation with a Port St. Lucie Injury attorney can provide you with important legal advice about your claim. A qualified, experienced legal representative can suggest the best path forward to ensure that your case is resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner.



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