A person acts negligently when they fail to act in a way to keep others around them safe to the extent that a reasonable person would. Negligence can include doing something that puts another in a potential danger, but it can also be not doing something that would avoid putting another person in danger.
To give an example, a person may know that the stairs in their home are not safe yet take no action to fix the them. If a visitor is injured, they can be found negligent through their inaction. A distracted driver who is texting on their cell phone may strike a pedestrian and be found negligent through their careless action.
Legally, there are four main parts to determining that a person was negligent. First, it must be established that defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff; second, that that duty was breached; third, the breach caused an accident that involved the plaintiff; fourth, that the plaintiff was injured as a result.
There are many reasons that a person would have a legal duty to protect another person, such as a business arrangement (business owner to customer) or simply having the knowledge that an injury could occur.
An Atlanta personal injury attorney can provide more information regarding negligence.