Negligence Per Se
State laws govern the manner in which personal injury lawsuits are filed, heard, and determined.
Every personal injury claim requires the determination of negligence and the assignment of liability, but not all personal injuries are covered by existing civil legal statutes in every state.
There are instances where no civil law covers the circumstances of a personal injury claim. In some cases, criminal or other laws may provide ruling criteria for such situations. The state legal system can “borrow” from those other areas of the law in order to make a determination on a personal injury claim.
When legal doctrine from another area of law is applied to a personal injury claim, negligence in the claim is determined under “negligence per se”. Essentially, this means “negligence according to”. In other words, negligence in the claim is reviewed, determined, and assigned according to a criminal legal code or another area of the law, rather than according to civil laws.
For a personal injury claim to fall within the scope of negligence per se, it must involve the breaking of a legal statute for which no civil penalties have ever been formally established.