Vanderbilt Law Review

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A prima facie case of negligence has four elements: duty, breach, causation, and injury. In plain English, a person suing for negligence alleges that the defendant owed her a duty of reasonable care and injured her by breaching that duty. Every state adheres to the four-element account,' with perhaps two exceptions. That ac- count was prominent in the various editions of Prosser's treatise, and is likewise prominent in Professor Dobbs' successor treatise. Leading casebooks also feature the four-element formula.

Given the widespread adoption of the four-element test, one would have expected to encounter it somewhere in the two drafts of the Restatement (Third) of Torts: General Principles now circulating before the ALI. Yet, it is not there. The basic negligence provision drafted by Professor Schwartz is Section 3. It offers a three-element account of the tort:

Negligence Liability:

"An actor is subject to liability for negligent conduct that is a legal cause of physical harm."

Included in

Torts Commons