What is the Difference Between Negligence and Breach of Duty?

injured person filling out negligence form

In personal injury lawsuits, a plaintiff sues a defendant according to the theory of negligence. Both “negligence” and “breach of duty” are legal terms of art that are commonly used in the context of personal injury lawsuits. In broad terms, negligence means that someone failed to take reasonable care to prevent harm to another or others. The specific elements of negligence that the plaintiff must prove in order to win their claim are the following:

1) The defendant had a duty of care

2) That the defendant breached that duty

3) That duty caused injury to the plaintiff, who suffered damages


On the other hand, breach of duty is the failure to fulfill a legal obligation or duty that one owes to another—it is the second “element” of a legal claim for negligence. For example, someone might have a duty to maintain a property in a safe condition and a failure to do so could be considered a breach of duty. However, additional elements of the claim for negligence—as described above—must also occur in order for the plaintiff’s lawsuit to be successful. In other words, the plaintiff wins compensation if, in addition to a defendant’s breach of duty, the plaintiff sustained damages that occurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

Why Hire Clayton Trial Lawyers After a Personal Injury Accident?

Clayton Trial Lawyers, LP is committed to representing your best interests when you are hurt and most vulnerable. We promise to be your trusted advisor. We will listen closely to your story. We will bring compassion, legal knowledge, resources, and expertise to your case. We will work around the clock to provide you with compassionate legal counsel to make sure that you recover the maximum compensation available after an injury. We know that finding the right personal injury attorney and law firm is important. We are different than other firms. We pride ourselves in providing you with individual attention, guidance and care. We are proud to stand up for the rights of our clients in the face of powerful adversaries. We are privileged to represent you and will stand by your side.

Contact us today if you think we can help.