If you are filing a claim for personal injury or asbestos exposure, it is essential that you understand what negligence means. You are going to hear that term a lot when you file a claim against a defendant. You may be wondering, “What is negligence?” Please keep reading to find out what it means in a legal setting.

Please call our Niagara Falls asbestos lawyers today to schedule your free consultation if you have any questions about filing a claim for personal injury or asbestos exposure. We would be honored to represent you.

What is Negligence: Two Definitions for Negligence

For a full understanding of negligence, please keep reading to learn the layman’s understanding of the word and the legal definition.

Layman’s Definition of Negligence

Here is the answer to “What is negligence?” that anyone can understand.

The word “negligence” can mean different things depending on the context in which it is used. A simple way to define negligence is to say someone was acting in a way that they shouldn’t be.

Everyday examples of negligence include:

  • Someone forgetting to lock their car door
  • A chef turning their back on a steak and overcooking it
  • A driver who is texting while operating their vehicle

The legal definition for negligence is much more specific, or else we would have lawsuits over every little thing that goes wrong.

Legal Definition for Negligence

The following is the answer to the question, “What is negligence?” with the legal definition of the term.

In a legal setting, negligence means that a person or entity failed to act in a way that exercised a standard of care towards others. Furthermore, a sensible person or entity would not have acted similarly.

It is an important distinction that the defendant acted in a way that was different from how another reasonable person would have acted, making for a much different outcome.

Four Elements of Negligence

The following are the four elements to answering the question, “What is negligence?” Your attorney must prove all four elements of negligence to confirm that negligence exists in your claim, and the liable party should be held responsible for your damages.

Duty of Care

Your first step to take when trying to prove negligence for your claim is to show that the defendant had a duty to care for others. Any driver on the road has a duty to care for others on the road. This first step is relatively straightforward in establishing negligence for your case.

Breach of Duty

Once you have established that the defendant had a duty of care, you must prove that they breached that duty. An example would be a manufacturing company that used products with asbestos, knowing that it was dangerous for their employees.


You must prove that the defendant’s actions caused you harm. For example, a driver who violated traffic laws side-swiped you on the highway and caused your collision. Another example is an employer that decided to continue using asbestos products despite studies showing that asbestos is a carcinogen and having employees later diagnosed with mesothelioma.


Proving that the defendant caused you harm is vital to your negligence claim. It can be the most complicated step in a lawsuit, and this stage requires plenty of evidence such as pay stubs, medical records, medical bills, expert testimony, and more. Your attorney will bear the burden of proving your damages in order to win you fair compensation.

Call Our Niagara Falls Asbestos Lawyers Today

If there are more questions aside from “What is negligence?” rattling around in your head after someone has caused you harm, we can provide you with answers.

If you want to meet with attorneys who care about you, please call our office to schedule your free consultation with our Niagara Falls asbestos lawyers right away. We would be honored to represent you.