negligent,adj. Characterized by a person’s failure to exercise the degree of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised in the same circumstance <the negligent driver went through the stop sign> <negligent construction caused the bridge to collapse>. [Cases: Automobiles 146; Negligence 200, 232. C.J.S. Motor Vehicles §§ 18, 41, 500–503, 506–510, 545–546, 550–552, 554–555, 1299; Negligence §§ 5–13, 15–20, 33, 64.] — negligently,adv.

“[A] careful consideration is needed of the differences between the meaning of expressions like ‘inadvertently’ and ‘while his mind was a blank’ on the one hand, and ‘negligently’ on the

other. In ordinary English, and also in lawyers‘ English, when harm has resulted from someone’s negligence, if we say of that person that he has acted negligently we are not thereby merely describing the frame of mind in which he acted.‘He negligently broke a saucer’ is not the same kind of expression as ‘he inadvertently broke a saucer’. The point of the adverb ‘inadvertently’ is merely to inform us of the agent’s psychological state, whereas if we say ‘He broke it negligently’ we are not merely adding to this an element of blame or reproach, but something quite specific, viz. we are referring to the fact that the agent failed to comply with a standard of conduct with which any ordinary reasonable man could and would have complied: a standard requiring him to take precautions against harm. The word ‘negligently’, both in legal and in non-legal contexts, makes an essential reference to an omission to do what is thus required: it is not a flatly descriptive psychological expression like ‘his mind was a blank’.” H.L.A. Hart, “Negligence, Mens Rea and Criminal Responsibility,” in Punishment and Responsibility 136, 147–48 (1968).

[Blacks Law 8th]