Asked in Personal Injury for District of Columbia

Q: What is "negligence per se"?

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1 Lawyer Answer
David Benowitz
David Benowitz
  • Washington, DC
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: Negligence per se is when the person’s action itself is negligent or in violation of the law. It also includes negligence resulting from a person’s violation of a statute designed to protect the public from a specific type of harm. For example, a driving statute may define exceeding the posted speed limit by 25 miles per hour as negligent. A person exceeding the posted speed limit by 25 miles per hour can be considered negligent per se. To prove negligence per se, the plaintiff only needs to show that the defendant violated the statute, and the statute is a safety statute intended to protect the plaintiff and members of that class.

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