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A typical formula for evaluating negligence requires that a plaintiff prove the following four factors by a "preponderance of the evidence":

- The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff (or a duty to the general public, including the plaintiff);

- The defendant violated that duty;

- As a result of the defendant's violation of that duty, the plaintiff suffered injury; and

- The injury was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant's action or inaction.

For example, a person driving a car has a general duty to conduct the car in a safe and responsible manner. If a driver runs through a red light, the driver violates that duty. As it is foreseeable that running a red light can result in a car crash, and that people are likely to be injured in such a collision, the driver will be liable in negligence for any injuries that in fact result to others in a collision resulting from the running of the red light.

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