The Five Elements of Negligence

 In Ideas

After centuries of glacial development in the English forms of action, negligence law in America began to take shape during the 1830s and 1840s as a general theory of liability for carelessly caused harm. Conveniently (if roughly) dated to Chief Judge Shaw’s 1850 decision in Brown v. Kendall, negligence emerged as a distinct tort sometime during the middle of the nineteenth century. The essence of the tort was that a person should be subject to liability for carelessly causing harm to another. Also essential to negligence, evident from an early date, was the necessity of a causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s damage that was natural, probable, proximate, and not too remote.

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