Personal. Caring.

Negligence Per Se – “When Crime Pays”

In a previous article (“I Was Injured … Do I Have a Case?”), we discussed negligence and the four different elements necessary to prove negligence.

A variation of negligence as a theory of liability is a similar theory called “negligence per se.”


Negligence per se recognizes a duty of care and a breach of that duty for an unexcused violation of a law or statute. Negligence per se is applicable where a person making a claim for compensation can show that (1) he or she was within the class of persons intended to be protected by the statute, (2) the injury or damages suffered was the type of harm to be protected by the statute, and (3) the violation of the statute was the cause of the injury or damages.

A common situation where the theory of negligence per se may be applicable is where a person making a claim for compensation has been injured or damaged as a result of someone else breaking or violating a criminal law.

For example, in Arizona there is a criminal law prohibiting assault. See A.R.S. § 13-1203(A). This law in Arizona prohibiting assault states that

A person commits assault by:

  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person; or
  • Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or
  • Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person.

As such, if a person “assaults” you and is charged and convicted in accordance with the law set forth above and if that person also caused injury or damages to you, you likely will have a valid claim based on negligence per se.

In making the claim for negligence per se in this instance, you would likely be able to show that (1) you were within the class of persons the law cited above was intended to protect, (2) the injury or damages you suffered was the type of harm to be protected by the law prohibiting assault, and (3) the other person’s violation of the law prohibiting assault was the cause of your injury or damages.

Similarly, negligence per se is applicable in most cases where a person violates a criminal law and, as a result, causes injury or damages to another person (i.e., vehicle violations like speeding, sexual offenses, criminal trespass, criminal damage, arson, forgery, etc.)

If you believe you have suffered injuries or damages – either physical or emotional – as a result of someone else violating a criminal law, call us for a free consultation. We can assess your case with no up-front cost and we can likely handle your claim with no out-of-pocket cost to you.


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