What is the Meaning of “Negligence Per Se” in a Car Accident Case?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | August 6, 2015
What is the Meaning of “Negligence Per Se” in a Car Accident Case?

After an automobile accident there are many difficult obstacles to tackle. The initial stages requires a driver to work with authorities, seek medical attention if necessary, and counsel with an experienced auto accident attorney. During this process, it is often a troublesome issue for a victim of a car accident to prove who is liable or at fault for the collision. It is a rare situation for an accident to be an open and shut case where a party is upfront about his or her guilt. Most cases are surrounded by differing opinions on who caused the accident and require a determination of fault before compensation for injuries or damages can occur. In determining who is at fault for a car accident, negligence per se is an important doctrine of liability.

What is Negligence Per Se?

Negligence per se is a doctrine that states an act is negligent merely because it violates a law.1 The basic principle is that when a law is designed to protect people, the law is violated, and someone was injured as a result, there is no need to demonstrate that the responsible party was carless or reckless.2 In the context of a car accident case, negligence per se means that a party does not need to show that the other driver breached a duty of care, only that there was a violation of a traffic or moving law.

How to Prove Negligence Per Se?

The doctrine of negligence per se requires sufficient evidence that a law was violated. In the state of Missouri, a party must specifically prove four elements to establish guilt on the part of another driver.4 The violation of a law can often be proven through police reports and any tickets issued to the drivers involved. For instance, a citation that is issued for following too closely, speeding, or a failure to yield can help to prove violation of a law. Also, the party or driver filing the claim has to belong to the class of people that the law was enacted and designed to protect. The injury caused by the accident must be the same type of harm that the law was enacted to prevent. The violation of the law must be the direct and proximate cause of the injury.5 Satisfying these points improves the likelihood of recovering for injuries and damages sustained during the auto accident.

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have been in a car accident that was directly caused by another driver’s violation of a law, then you may be able to determine faulty under the doctrine of negligence per se. One of the first steps is to discuss the circumstances of your accident with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you to determine what claims should be filed and protect your rights and interests as a victim of a car accident. To contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm Law Firm at 314-735-8100.


  1. http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/negligence-per-se.html
  2. http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cases/mo/Negligence_per_se/King_v_Morgan_negligence_per_se.htm

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

Author's Bio

You Might Also Be Interested In