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The substantive law of negligence points the way to proof of negligence. Claimants' lawyers offering proof try to lay predicates for detailed conclusions which inescapably add up to negligence in law. Negligence is a compound conclusion, based on prior sub-conclusions; it can be broken down and its parts so stated that they throw light on the kinds of evidence needed. When a claimant's lawyer argues the defendant's negligence to a trial judge or a jury he needs to have made proof which will back up these six assertions:

1. This (describing it) is what defendant did.

2. Such conduct is dangerous.

3. Either (a) defendant knew it was dangerous, or (b) a reasonable man in defendant's circumstances would know of the danger.

4. The risk could feasibly have been reduced in such-and-such a way, at the slight cost of $.... , and with only such-and-such inconvenience.

5. Defendant knew of (or had a reasonable opportunity to know of) the safer way of acting.

6. Defendant's conduct falls short of the care required of him by law.

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Proof of Negligence, 47 NW. U.L. Rev. 751 (1953)

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