What is Negligence?

What Does Negligence Mean

We explain what negligence is, its origin, use in law and various examples. Also, differences with recklessness.

Negligence in a poorly done job is more serious if it endangers people.

What is negligence?

In general, when we speak of negligence we refer to the fact that a job or an activity was done with little care or little application , especially in tasks that are vital, important or on which the lives of third parties depend. That is, when something was done to get out of the way, without paying it due attention or without taking the necessary measures to ensure that everything went well.

The word negligence comes from the Latin negligentia , composed of the voices nec- (negation prefix) and legere (“read”), referring to everything that is done without paying attention to the proper instructions, that is, without being documented, without learn, without being minimally informed. A negligent person is one who fulfills his obligations without making an effort to guarantee their success, and above all without paying the care and attention that this deserves.

This term is in common use in the world of law. In fact, it constitutes a type of legal claim that people can formulate against an organization or against an individual that caused damage to them or their property , due to lack of care or effort in carrying out a job.

Generally, negligence cases involve some type of compensation for those who have suffered the damages, and some type of punishment for the negligent person or institution .

It can serve you: Laziness

Examples of negligence

There are many specific forms of negligence, which are usually named according to the type of work performed poorly or disruptively. Such as:

  • Medical malpractice , when it is medical work carried out in a careless or non-rigorous way, and that therefore compromises the health or well-being of the patient. For example, when in an operation they forget a gauze inside the patient and they must re-operate to remove it, thus putting their life at risk unnecessarily.
  • Legal negligence , in the specific case of the legal profession, occurs when a professional in the area does not provide a defendant with the minimum care, respect and dedication in their services, thus causing damage in the resolution of their case, against the minimally reasonable . For example, a defense lawyer who does not study your case, who does not consider its minimum characteristics and its poor performance carries a penalty greater than the minimally expected for its client.
  • Professional negligence , in general, refers to areas of professional work, whatever they may be, in which work was carried out in a careless, unserious or rigorous manner, and which compromises third parties. It occurs, for example, when a public official does not pay attention to the documentation of the people he attends and causes unjustified and irrational delays in their procedures.
  • Technical negligence , that which has to do with the choice or arrangement of specific elements, the handling of which requires specialized knowledge and minimal dedication and responsibility . For example, the poor choice of materials to build a bridge that later collapses and causes a fatal accident.

Difference between negligence and recklessness

To be reckless is to be little responsible in what you do.

It is not the same, however, to be negligent, that is, to make little effort and be little responsible in what one does, especially when it involves the welfare of third parties, than to be reckless. Recklessness implies taking actions without taking into account the consequences they will bring . That is, actions carried out without good judgment (from the Latin im- , “without”, pro- , “ahead” and videre , “to see”, that is, “without looking forward”).

Recklessness can be as dangerous and reprehensible as negligence, and although in everyday language the two terms could be used more or less similarly, they have different nuances that are especially important in matters of law .

These nuances distinguish between the creation or aggravation of a danger due to the carelessness or naivety of people (recklessness), and the failure to take the necessary precautions to neutralize a danger that already exists (negligence). This often makes a difference in good faith: the reckless acts badly believing they are doing well, while the negligent often knows the risk that someone else is taking and chooses not to endeavor to avoid it.

Let us explain this difference by means of an example: imagine a doctor who operates on someone with a simple and quick intervention, but the patient unexpectedly dies in the operating room. When a specialized commission carries out the investigations, it discovers that the patient died due to one of two options:

  • Recklessness , since he underwent surgery despite the fact that the procedure involved risks due to his overweight . By not having warned the patient of the risks of his condition and having proceeded to operate without taking into account the danger to the patient, the doctor has acted without the necessary prudence.
  • Negligence , since he was operated on without the medical staff correctly calculating the correct dose of anesthesia. By acting in such a careless and irresponsible manner, the anesthesiologist has been negligent and has caused the death of those who ordinarily could have overcome the intervention.

Follow with: Prejudice

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