In this article, we hope to address the definition and issues surrounding professional negligence to help our readers better understand how negligence can become a legal liability that has the potential to greatly affect them.
What is the definition of negligence?
The definition of negligence is fairly self-explanatory. It is when an individual exercises careless conduct instead of conducting themselves in a manner that is typically required of them. Typically, this is in reference to an individual in a professional or working environment, where it is their duty to manage themselves in a specific way at work in order to ensure that there are no mishaps or accidents.
But now ask yourself this: When does negligence become an issue so large that it has the potential to become a legal matter?
Failure to act
When an individual’s professional negligence breaches their duty to care, it is possible for the matter that occurred due to that negligence to give rise to liability to pay compensation.
The actions that were taken to allow the event to be labelled professional negligence needs to fall below the usual standard of competent professionalism. When a professional’s duty is breached, and that breach causes some kind of loss (whether that loss is financial or physical in the case of a person or property being affected), it is then that negligence becomes an issue.
When can negligence occur?
Negligence can occur in everyday life, in social and professional situations. For the means of this article, we’ll stay on the subject of professional negligence.
Let’s say that it is the duty of an individual to lock up a store at a specific time of day for closing. They lock the doors, but don’t check that the alarm has been properly set. The store is broken into during the night, and because the alarms didn’t sound to alert the night security, several expensive items are stolen. This is professional negligence, albeit a very harsh example.
An everyday example of professional negligence could be something as simple as a cleaning staff member forgetting to set out a “wet floor” sign. If someone slips, that would be the cleaner’s fault, and therefore, it would count as professional negligence.
Professional negligence could even be an office worker not stamping a date on a piece of paperwork.
As you can see by the example above, professional negligence can be quite widespread. In these everyday situations, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out who, exactly, should be blamed. Such as the cleaning example. Would it really be the fault of the cleaner? Or would it be the fault of the person who slipped walking on a floor that was very obviously being cleaned at the time? It could be argued either way.
Negligence is a huge, varied, and complex issue. To deal with any of the subjects that occur in life, it’s always best to consult a professional who can give you practical, legal advice on what your options are if you believe you have breached your duty.