What Is Negligence Per Se and How Can it Affect My Car Accident Case?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | June 5, 2015
What Is Negligence Per Se and How Can it Affect My Car Accident Case?

In order for a victim to recover compensation after a car accident, he or she must generally be able to point to some form of negligence that caused or contributed to the accident. In a personal injury lawsuit, negligence has a very specific meaning and establishing negligence often requires the presentation of a significant amount of evidence. Generally speaking, negligence occurs when a person fails to conduct himself or herself with the degree of care that would be exercised by a reasonable person in similar circumstances. The kinds of negligence that could often result in a car accident could include poor manufacture of a vehicle, distracted driving, driving too fast in light of the contemporaneous weather conditions, or driving while excessively tired or sleepy.

Violating Rules Constitutes Negligence in MO Car Accidents

Negligence per se is a legal doctrine that holds that an act will be deemed negligent if it is in violation of a statute or ordinance. In other words, under the doctrine, evidence that a law was violated is sufficient to establish negligence, and a plaintiff does not need to establish that the defendant acted unreasonably in any way. I order to recover under the doctrine under Missouri law,2 a plaintiff must be able to show the following:

  • There was a violation of the law
  • The plaintiff is a member of the class of people that the law was designed to protect
  • The injury that occurred is of the type that the law was designed to prevent, and
  • The violation of the statute was the proximate cause of the injury.

As a result, when car accidents are caused by traffic law violations such as speeding, failure to yield, following too closely, or failing to stop at a stop sign, victims can often recover for their injuries.

Contact a St. Louis Car Accident Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

When drivers violate traffic laws, the consequences can be devastating. The good news is that evidence that a traffic law was violated is often sufficient to establish legal liability. The attorneys of The Bruning Law Firm are committed to helping people who have been injured by the negligence of others recover for their losses. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, please call our office today at 314-328-5632.


If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.

Call or contact our office online today to schedule a free consultation.


  1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence_per_se
  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.

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