The simple meaning of negligence in everyday life is “carelessness” . Under legal sense it is the failure to perform basic care which a reasonable mam is expected to perform under variable circumstances.
According to Winfield and Jolowicz “Negligence is the breach of a legal duty to take care which results in damage, undesired by the defendant to the plaintiff.”
In Blyth v. Birmingham Water Works Co. Negligence was defined as the omission to do something which a reasonable man would do or doing something which a prudent or reasonable man woyuld not do.
To commit the tort of negligence , there are primarily 6 main essentials that are required-
1. Duty of care- It means that every person owns a duty of care, to another person while performing an act. The duty of care covers only the legal duties under law and not the moral acts of a person
In Grant vs Australian Knitting Mills Ltd. , The manufacturers were held liable as they failed to perform their duty to take care.
2. Duty towards plaintiff- A duty arises when the law recognizes a relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff and requires the defendant to act in a certain manner towards the plaintiff . The essentials of this rule were established in the famous case of Donoghue. Vs. Stevenson .
3. Breach of duty – One of the important conditions for the liability in negligence is that the plaintiff must prove that due to the negligence the defendant is not able to perform his duties.
4. Cause in fact- The plaintiff who is suing the defendant for negligence has the liability to prove is that the defendant’s violation of duty was the actual cause of the damages incurred by him.
5. Proximate cause- It means legal cause or the cause that the law recognizes as the primary cause of the injury. It may not be the first event that set in motion a sequence of events that led to an injury and it may not be the very last event before the injury occurs.
6. Damages- The last essential requisite for the tort of negligence is that the damange caused to the plaintiff was the result of negligence
The tort of negligence covers a wide ambit of law and cannot be refrained into into particular categories, but broadly the cases are governed under the ambit of Civil and Criminal wrong.
Tort or civil negligence is one person's failure to behave in his relations with others with "fair" care so as not to cause injury or harm. Negligence is not deliberate, it's an accident and we all know there will be accidents. To be paid damages for injuries incurred by any accident, however, we must establish that the person or agency responsible for the accident. To establish the duty of Civil negligence certain elements were to be established:
Owed you a “duty of care”;
That they “breached that duty”;
That their breach was the “cause of your injuries”; and
That your injuries are “measurable by a monetary loss.
A person who owns a dog and leaves him open in the courtyard of another, and the dog destroys the garden of another. The person can be held negligent.
Criminal negligence, on the other hand, occurs when an individual acts with such disregard or indifference to human life , creating the risk to those around him of great bodily injury or death. Despite that said, criminal negligence falls short of intentional or careless behaviour. Intentional conduct means the person has behaved in such a way, realizing the consequences of his actions would be, and intending their results. Reckless conduct is where the individual may be aware of the risks but does not care what the consequences of his actions may be.
If a person drinks and drives, and kills someone on the road, he can be considered criminally liable. The explanation for this is that killing is a felony, and therefore drinking and driving is also a felony, and he can be prosecuted and convicted criminal.
Hence in cases where the Civil and Criminal negligence is established there are certain actions which can be taken in both the cases , such as filing of cases and preparation of vakalatnama in civil cases and filing of FIR and then followed up by an investigation in Criminal cases.
Therefore , every person should know their Rights and liabilities and also be well versed with the law of land and follow the rules and procedures set by it and fulfill the roles of a good citizen by taking in account their comfort and well being . Also be aware of their laws and take actions for other persons negligent acts.