In its most simple definition, it means that someone was careless and as a result of being careless, someone else was injured.
Negligence serves as the basis for a personal injury lawsuit. Negligence is any conduct that falls below the recognized standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risks of harm. A person has acted negligently if he or she has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under the same or similar circumstances. To establish negligence, a plaintiff (the person injured) must be able to prove or demonstrate in court that the defendant (the person being sued) had a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty by failing to conform to the required standard of conduct, the defendant’s negligent conduct was the cause of the personal injury or harm to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff was, in fact, harmed or damaged. For example, the driver of a tractor trailer truck hauling a large piece of machinery owes a duty to other drivers on the freeway to be careful. If the truck driver failed to strap down the machinery and it fell off the truck, landing on a passing car and injuring or killing the driver of the car, a personal injury or wrongful death claim could be made based upon the negligence of the truck driver. Hiring a lawyer / attorney is always advised if you feel you may have a personal injury or wrongful death case.