Author: Attorney R. Clayton Allen
The basis of all tort (1) law is negligence. In almost every tort case that goes to trial in Virginia, the decision is based on whether the person being sued (the defendant) is guilty of negligence. Usually the judge reads to the jury an instruction that defines negligence as follows: "Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care. Ordinary care is the care a reasonable person would have used under the circumstances."(2) In Virginia, if it's a jury trial, the seven members of the jury must unanimously agree that the defendant was negligent in order for the injured person (the plaintiff) to receive a verdict in their favor.