Know Your Burden: Statutes, Violations and per se NegligenceFriday, April 7, 2017
Life in this country is largely held together with a patchwork network of regulations, administrative codes and statutes governing everything from how far apart power outlets must be in a residential home, to how fast you can drive in a school zone, to how often a sidewalk must be cleared of snow and ice. In litigation involving allegations of negligence, whether an applicable code or regulation has been violated may have enormous consequences for the outcome of the case, because in certain situations the violation of the statute, regulation or industry standard will be considered negligence per se. In effect, the statute or regulation replaces the common law “reasonable man” standard of care, and a plaintiff need only establish a violation of the statute or regulation to win the day. While there are some general rules that are basically the same across most jurisdictions, the impact of proof of a code or rule violation depends on your jurisdiction.