Any time a person or business does not meet the standard of careful conduct that is reasonably expected of them, they are behaving in a negligent way. Whether it is deemed "negligent" is dependent on the circumstances at hand. If negligent behavior is found, for a claim to be successful, it must be the proximate cause for the harm suffered by the party making the allegation of negligence. If someone is careless, but by good fortune no one else gets hurt, the right to sue for damages does not arise.

Negligence can take many forms, such as manufacturing and selling defective products, inviting people onto unsafe premises, failing to provide proper professional services, allowing hazardous products to escape from your property, and many other situations. However, not all negligent acts give rise to a right to sue for damages. For example, Workers' Compensation laws take away the right of the injured party to sue for injuries suffered on the job, despite the fact that someone at their place of employment may have been negligent. Also, if you contributed to your own injury by some carelessness on your part, that may reduce the damages you are able to recover. If you think you have been injured by another's negligent act, contact a lawyer to discuss the remedies that might be available to you.