When something that should have been done was not done, or when something that should not have been done was done, and that caused injury or death, the injured party or their surviving next of kin may have a viable cause of action in Negligence.

Liability for negigence will result when carelessness, or conduct lacking in due care, directly results in unintentional harm to the victim. It is not necessary that the harm was done on purpose or with intent, as long as a person with a duty of care failed to conform to the standard of care that was reasonable under the circumstances, and this caused harm or injury or death.

In a medical setting, there is overlap between the concepts of malpractice and negligence.  A nurse's failure to properly read a doctor's prescription, and giving a patient the wrong medication, for example, or a simple failure to monitor a patient for signs of infection after surgery, or failure to prevent the patient from falling out of bed and hurting themselves, can be classified as negligence. These injuries are easily prevented. Unfortunately, small mistakes can have large repercussions.