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negligence

1. Carelessness: failure to do something that a reasonable man (i.e. an average responsible citizen) would do, or doing something that a reasonable man would not do. In cases of professional negligence, involving someone with a special skill, that person is expected to show the skill of an average member of his profession. Negligence may be an element in a few crimes, e.g. *careless driving, and various regulatory offences, which are usually punished by fine. The main example of a serious crime that may be committed by negligence is *manslaughter (in one of its forms). When negligence is a basis of criminal liability, it is no defence to show that one was doing oneís best if oneís conduct still falls below that of the reasonable man in the circumstances. See also *gross negligence.
2. A tort consisting of the breach of a *duty of care resulting in damage to the plaintiff. Negligence in the sense of carelessness does not give rise to civil liability unless the defendantís failure to conform to the standards of the reasonable man was a breach of a duty of care owed to the plaintiff, which has caused damage to him. See also *contributory negligence; *res ipsa loquitur.

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