Negligence is a kind of tort or civil wrong which refers to a breach of duty by one person to another or an act done unintentionally. Negligence is an independent and specific tort and also may be a factor or ingredient in another tort. To succeed in an action for Negligence, the claimant must prove the three ingredients namely, the existence of a duty of a duty to take care which was owed to him by the defendant, breach of such duty by the defendant and the resulting damage to the claimant. An action for negligence can also be brought under the Criminal Law and in most criminal offences ‘negligence’ is an important ingredient. A negligent behavior of a person gives a right to the victim to be compensated for any harm to his body, property, mental well-being, financial status, etc.
The development of modern law of negligence owes much to the decision of the Donoghue v. Stevenson case. Mrs. Donoghue had consumed part of a ginger beer containing a decomposed snail while in a public bar. She sued the manufacturer of the drink, Mr. Stevenson, for her consequent illness. The House of Lords in its decision held that though Mrs. Donoghue, the victim had a valid claim, such a claim should not exist and thus it should be treated as a new product liability case. It was further held that there should be liability for negligent act and the law should recognize the principle that every person owes a duty of reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which can be reasonably foreseen as likely to injure his neighbor.