From the Legal Perspective: What Are the 4 Different Categories of Negligence?

Legalby Mashum Mollah23 April 2019


Accident victims recover financial compensation for their personal injuries caused by the wrongful acts of third-parties. Personal injury cases compensate accident victims for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Wrongful death lawsuits attempt to compensate the grieving family of the deceased for their loved one’s wrongful death. Wrongful death cases pay for the deceased’s personal injuries and burial. Wrongful death cases also compensate the family for the loss of companionship, loss of guidance of a parent, and for their economic loss, an estimate of the income the deceased would have contributed to their well-being from the time of the accident until his or her retirement.


Determining who is at fault, or who has to pay for damages from a traffic accident, is based on motor vehicle laws, insurance rules, and determinations of negligence. Who is at-fault is based on the details of the specific traffic accident. Generally, the four types of negligence are carelessness, recklessness, intentional misconduct, and a strict liability regardless of who is at fault. Recklessness implies a blatant disregard for the safety and rights of others. In fact, four legal types of negligence are:

  • Comparative
  • Contributory
  • Imputed
  • Entrustment

Comparative negligence:

Comparative negligence means, when both parties caused the accident, neither one fully caused the accident. Traffic laws may not hold both parties equally. DUI law imposes greater liability on a commercial driver or a young teen who had a single drink. A driver making a left turn is usually legally liable for an accident in an intersection when he or she strikes a vehicle traveling straight through the intersection. The accident victims may recover some compensation for injuries, but not the full amount. The injured party may have to pay for damage to the vehicle that injured him if he is judged more than 50% at fault for the accident.

Contributory Negligence:

Alcohol and excessive speed contributed to 50% of all motorcycle accidents. If the cyclist is speeding, drunk, or driving in the same lane as the car or truck when he’s struck by the startling motorist, the cyclist is at least partially responsible for damages to the car that struck him. One-fourth of all fatal motorcycle accidents result from collisions with stationary objects. Even when no other vehicle is involved in an accident, your personal injury attorney may find huge holes in the surface of the road or maintenance performed on your vehicle was not done correctly. For example, your master cylinder leaked after you got new breaks. The mechanic and his employer are liable for your injuries.

Imputed Negligence or Vicarious Liability:

Ridesharing can be a dangerous endeavor. Lyft and Uber carry $1,000,000 of liability insurance on passengers who are accidentally injured when they are actively riding in their driver’s vehicles. Lyft and Uber don’t carry collision and liability insurance that covers their drivers. If you, the rideshare passenger, demand to get to the airport on time during pouring rain or you need to go into a high crime area of the city, you, the passenger, are vicariously liable for your driver’s injuries or wrongful death. You should have canceled your trip or found a better way to your destination. Imputed negligence law implies that you, the passenger, may have to pay for the personal injuries or the wrongful death of your Lyft or Uber driver.

Strict Liability:

Strict liability applies to defective product medical malpractice cases. Your surgeon or doctor performed your surgery or prescribed medication for you appropriately and within the standard of care, except that the surgical implant or pharmaceutical was defective or recalled. Strict liability also applies to trucks that carry flammable or corrosive materials.

Negligent Entrustment:

When negligent entrustment tort law is applied to a personal injury case, the party who supplied dangerous equipment is liable for the personal injuries or wrongful death of a third-party caused by the improper use of their equipment. The dangerous equipment is usually a motor vehicle or a firearm, but it could be a jet ski, rental boat, or a propane tank. Boats and jet skis should only be rented to those who know how to operate them. Negligent entrustment applies to an employer supplying a truck to a driver to move his heavy equipment, to deliver his goods on time, or to provide his services. The employer is directly liable for his employee’s negligent acts.

Proof of Negligent Entrustment:

An employer or a parent, for example, is liable through negligent entrustment if the following elements are true:

  • The employer or parent knew the person who caused the accident or committed a crime might not be safe with the potentially dangerous equipment.
  • The employer or parent trusted someone with potentially dangerous equipment that he or she did not know how to use.
  • The employer or parent willfully caused the unfit employee or unqualified child to drive beyond their competence or use equipment they did not know how to use.
  • The employee or child caused injury to others with potentially dangerous equipment.

Parents Liability for Their Children’s Torts:

The District of Columbia case law holds parents directly responsible for torts resulting from their failure to discipline their children or if they knowingly permit their child to drink, drive without a driver’s license, or otherwise failed to prohibit or discourage their children’s dangerous conduct. Parents are directly liable for firearms in the possession of their young children.

Anytime a child does something wrong, it is the responsibility of the parents in the eyes of the law. This is why you need to ensure that you are working with good legal experts to help you out of uncomfortable legal situations and problems. According to many experts, for any family legal assistance contact Fernandez & Karney in west los angeles. They help deal with divorce and custody issues and can help you come up with an amicable solution to your personal and family problems.

Parental Negligent Entrustment in Virginia:

Virginia Statutes § 8.01-43, 8.01-44, and 8.01-64 hold parents directly liable for public and private property damaged by their children up to $2,500. Virginia Law holds parents separately and jointly liable for motor vehicle accidents caused by their child who is under 16 years old.

Parental Negligent Entrustment in Maryland:

Maryland Code § 11-604 holds parents directly liable for their children’s willful misconduct, and Maryland Code § 16-107 holds parents directly responsible for their minor children’s driving to a maximum of $10,000. In Maryland, parents must pay for damage caused by their children’s criminal acts, and parents who cosign for their child’s driver’s license are liable for the minor’s negligent driving.

Negligence in Personal Injury Cases:

Proving negligence in a personal injury case may not be easy especially when the determination is up to a jury. An employer may accept liability for his driver’s negligent acts, but not agree to pay for all injuries in your personal injury or wrongful death claim. The attorney for the defendant in your third-party lawsuit will try to reduce his liability and or cut his financial losses. If preexisting conditions may have contributed to your injuries, the defendant or jury might disregard your expensive surgery and only agree to pay for your emergency treatment, your physical therapy, and your time off for doctor’s appointments, not your extended time off from work.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at Viacon, a digital marketing agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at

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