2021 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 1 - General Provisions
§ 51-1-2. Ordinary Diligence and Ordinary Negligence Defined

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-1-2 (2021)

In general, ordinary diligence is that degree of care which is exercised by ordinarily prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances. As applied to the preservation of property, the term "ordinary diligence" means that care which every prudent man takes of his own property of a similar nature. The absence of such diligence is termed ordinary negligence.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 2034; Code 1868, § 2035; Code 1873, § 2061; Code 1882, § 2061; Civil Code 1895, § 2898; Civil Code 1910, § 3471; Code 1933, § 105-201.)

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Georgia Jury and Negligence: The View from the Bench," see 26 Ga. L. Rev. 85 (1992). For case note, "Lynch v. Waters: Tolling Georgia's Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice," see 38 Mercer L. Rev. 1493 (1987). For comment on Austin v. Smith, 96 Ga. App. 659, 101 S.E.2d 169 (1958), concerning gross negligence in relation to gratuitous automobile guest, see 20 Ga. B. J. 552 (1958). For comment on Planter's Elec. Membership Corp. v. Burke, 98 Ga. App. 380, 105 S.E.2d 787 (1958), see 22 Ga. B. J. 249 (1959). For comment on Thomas v. Shaw, 217 Ga. 688, 124 S.E.2d 396 (1962), see 25 Ga. B. J. 221 (1962).



  • General Consideration
  • Applicability to Specific Cases
  • Foreseeability
  • Joint Tort-feasors
  • Special Characteristics of Tort-feasor
  • Statutory Violation as Negligence Per Se
  • Pleading and Practice
  • Jury Instructions
  • Negligence as Jury Question


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 57A Am. Jur. 2d, Negligence, §§ 5 et seq., 218 et seq., 226, 239.

17A Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Master and Servant, § 475.


- 65 C.J.S., Negligence, § 4 et seq.


- Failure to stop, look, and listen at railroad crossing as negligence per se, 1 A.L.R. 203; 2 A.L.R. 767; 41 A.L.R. 405.

Presumption of negligence from throwing passenger from seat, 5 A.L.R. 1034.

Carrier's duty to passenger while train is going through tunnel, 9 A.L.R. 96.

Violation of statute or ordinance regulating movement of vehicles as affecting violator's right to recover for negligence, 12 A.L.R. 458.

Contributory negligence in falling on slippery walk, 13 A.L.R. 73.

Driving automobile across track in front of streetcar that has stopped to take on or let off passengers as negligence or contributory negligence, 14 A.L.R. 811.

Negligence in stopping automobile on streetcar track for purpose of taking on or letting off person, 15 A.L.R. 236.

Automobiles: liability of owner or operator for injury to guest, 20 A.L.R. 1014; 26 A.L.R. 1425; 40 A.L.R. 1338; 47 A.L.R. 327; 51 A.L.R. 581, 61 A.L.R. 1252, 65 A.L.R. 952; 61 A.L.R. 1252; 65 A.L.R. 952.

Res ipsa loquitur as affected by circumstances tending to negative negligence by defendant, 22 A.L.R. 1471.

Duty to check speed of train upon discovering livestock on or near tracks, 23 A.L.R. 148.

When automobile is under control, 28 A.L.R. 952.

Duty of carrier to guard young children against danger of falling from car, 28 A.L.R. 1035.

Contributory negligence in stepping into roadway where view is obscured by smoke, 28 A.L.R. 1279.

Constitutionality of statute or ordinance denying remedy for personal injury as a result of simple negligence, 36 A.L.R. 1400.

Driving automobile at a speed which prevents stopping within length of vision as negligence, 44 A.L.R. 1403; 58 A.L.R. 1493; 87 A.L.R. 900; 97 A.L.R. 546.

Presence of young child in street unattended as negligence or evidence of negligence, 51 A.L.R. 209.

Attractive nuisances, 53 A.L.R. 1344; 60 A.L.R. 1444.

Restoring electric current after automatic breaking of current as negligence, 57 A.L.R. 1065.

Custom as a standard of care, 68 A.L.R. 1400.

Ownership of automobile as prima facie evidence of responsibility for negligence of person operating it, 74 A.L.R. 951; 96 A.L.R. 634.

Excessive speed of automobile as affecting question whether excavation or other defect in highway is the proximate cause of accident, 82 A.L.R. 294.

Differences with respect to degree or criterion of negligence, between lex loci delicti, and lex fori, as ground for refusal to entertain action for foreign tort, 84 A.L.R. 1268.

Right of way at street or highway intersections as dependent upon, or independent of, care or negligence, 89 A.L.R. 838; 136 A.L.R. 1497.

Duty of federal courts to follow state court decisions as to degree or character of negligence which gives rise to cause of action, 91 A.L.R. 751.

Duty to guard against danger to children by electric wires, 100 A.L.R. 621.

Negligence of third person, other than physician or surgeon, in caring for injured person or in failing to follow instructions in that regard as affecting damages recoverable against person causing injury, 101 A.L.R. 559.

Automobiles: cutting corners as negligence, 115 A.L.R. 1178.

Necessity of proving specific reason for injury or damage to shipment of fruit or vegetables in order to overcome prima facie case against carrier where shipment was received in good condition and delivered in bad condition, 115 A.L.R. 1274.

Negligence or contributory negligence of parent in intrusting child to custody of another child, 123 A.L.R. 147.

Admissibility on issue of negligence or contributory negligence of statements warning one of danger, 125 A.L.R. 645.

Conclusiveness, as to negligence or contributory negligence, of judgment in death action, in subsequent action between defendant in the death action and statutory beneficiary of that action, as affected by objection of lack of identity of parties, 125 A.L.R. 908.

Violation of statute or ordinance regarding safety of building or premises as creating or affecting liability for injuries or death, 132 A.L.R. 863.

Duty of sheriff or other officer as to care of property levied upon by him, 138 A.L.R. 710.

Res ipsa loquitur distinguished from characterization of a known condition as negligence, and from the establishment of negligence by specific circumstantial evidence, 141 A.L.R. 1016.

Presumption of due care by person killed in accident as supporting or aiding inference of negligence by defendant, or inference that latter's negligence was proximate cause of accident, 144 A.L.R. 1473.

Res ipsa loquitur as applied to a collision between a moving automobile and a standing automobile or other vehicle, 151 A.L.R. 876.

Foreseeability as an element of negligence and proximate cause, 155 A.L.R. 157; 100 A.L.R.2d 942.

Erosion underneath street or highway as ground of liability of state or municipality for injury, 158 A.L.R. 784.

Ejection of passenger as ground of motorbus carrier's liability for subsequent injury or death, 165 A.L.R. 545.

Negligence of automobile passenger as to lookout or other precaution as affecting question of negligence or contributory negligence of driver, 165 A.L.R. 596.

Custom or practice of drivers of motor vehicles as affecting question of negligence, 172 A.L.R. 1141; 77 A.L.R.2d 1327.

Propriety and effect of pleading different degrees of negligence or wrongdoing in complaint seeking recovery for one injury, 173 A.L.R. 1231.

Res ipsa loquitur as applicable to injury due to coalhole or other opening in street or sidewalk, 174 A.L.R. 607.

Child's violation of statute or ordinance as affecting question of his negligence or contributory negligence, 174 A.L.R. 1170.

Foreseeability as an element of negligence and proximate cause, 100 A.L.R.2d 942.

Custom or practice of drivers of motor vehicles as affecting question of negligence, 77 A.L.R.2d 1327.

Duty and liability of one driving motor vehicle in or along rut, ridge, or the like, in highway, 10 A.L.R.2d 901.

Duty and liability of carrier to intoxicated passenger while en route, 17 A.L.R.2d 1085.

Applicability of res ipsa loquitur to injuries or death sustained by collapse, failure, or falling of scaffold, 22 A.L.R.2d 1176.

Intoxication of person injured or killed as affecting applicability of last clear chance doctrine, 26 A.L.R.2d 308.

Fire as attractive nuisance, 27 A.L.R.2d 1187.

Issue as to negligence as a proper subject of declaratory judgment action, 28 A.L.R.2d 957.

Sudden or unsignaled stop or slowing of motor vehicle as negligence, 29 A.L.R.2d 5.

Rights of injured guest as affected by obscured vision from vehicle in which he was riding, 42 A.L.R.2d 350.

Automobile operator's inexperience or lack of skill as affecting his liability to passenger, 43 A.L.R.2d 1155.

Duty and liability of municipality as regards barriers for protection of adult pedestrians who may unintentionally deviate from street or highway into marginal or external hazards, 44 A.L.R.2d 633.

Attorney's liability for negligence in preparing or conducting litigation, 45 A.L.R.2d 5; 6 A.L.R.4th 342.

Negligence of motorist colliding with vehicle approaching in wrong lane, 47 A.L.R.2d 6.

Negligence of motorist as to injury or damage occasioned in avoiding collision with vehicle approaching in wrong lane, 47 A.L.R.2d 119.

Admissibility in evidence of rules of defendant in action for negligence, 50 A.L.R.2d 16.

Negligence causing automobile accident, or negligence of driver subsequently approaching scene of accident, as proximate cause of injury by or to the approaching car or to its occupants, 58 A.L.R.2d 270.

Duty and liability of vehicle drivers approaching intersection of one-way street with other street, 62 A.L.R.2d 275.

Duty and liability of vehicle drivers within parking lot, 62 A.L.R.2d 288.

Duty and liability of one who voluntarily undertakes to care for injured person, 64 A.L.R.2d 1179.

Construction, application, and effect of legislation making it an offense to permit, or imputing negligence to one who permits, an unauthorized or unlicensed person to operate motor vehicle, 69 A.L.R.2d 978.

Ferry operator's duty and liability as regards motor vehicles and occupants thereof, 69 A.L.R.2d 1008.

Negligence in operation of airplane on take-off, 74 A.L.R.2d 615.

Negligence in operation of airplane in landing, 74 A.L.R.2d 628.

Interference with airplane pilot or controls as negligence or contributory negligence, 75 A.L.R.2d 858.

Applicability of res ipsa loquitur doctrine where motor vehicle turns over on highway, 79 A.L.R.2d 211.

Custom as to loading, unloading, or stowage of cargo as standard of care in action for personal injury or death of seaman or longshoreman, 85 A.L.R.2d 1196.

Failure of signaling device at crossing to operate, as affecting railroad company's liability, 90 A.L.R.2d 350.

Rescue doctrine: negligence and contributory negligence in suit by rescuer against rescued person, 4 A.L.R.3d 558.

Receiver's personal liability for negligence in failing to care for or maintain property in receivership, 20 A.L.R.3d 967.

Violation of regulation governing size or weight of motor vehicles, or combinations of vehicles and loads, on the highway as basis of liability for personal injury, death, or damage to private property, 21 A.L.R.3d 989.

Liability of corporate directors for negligence in permitting mismanagement or defalcations by officers or employees, 25 A.L.R.3d 941.

Right to recover damages in negligence for fear of injury to another, or shock or mental anguish at witnessing such injury, 29 A.L.R.3d 1337.

Duty of one other than carrier or employer to render assistance to one for whose initial injury he is not liable, 33 A.L.R.3d 301.

Effect of violation of safety equipment statute as establishing negligence in automobile accident litigation, 38 A.L.R.3d 530.

Nonmonetary benefits or contributions by rider as affecting his status under automobile guest statute, 39 A.L.R.3d 1083.

Automobile guest statute: status of rider as affected by payment, amount of which is not determined by expenses incurred, 39 A.L.R.3d 1177.

Payments on expense-sharing basis as affecting guest status of automobile passenger, 39 A.L.R.3d 1224.

Weapons: application of adult standard of care to infant handling firearms, 47 A.L.R.3d 620.

Employer's knowledge of employee's past criminal record as affecting liability for employee's tortious conduct, 48 A.L.R.3d 359.

Necessity and propriety of instructing on alternative theories of negligence or breach of warranty, where instruction on strict liability in tort is given in products liability case, 52 A.L.R.3d 101.

Lawn mowing by minors as violation of child labor statutes, 56 A.L.R.3d 1166.

Liability or recovery in automobile negligence action as affected by absence on insufficiency of lights on parked or standing motor vehicle, 61 A.L.R.3d 13.

Res ipsa loquitur as applied to accident resulting from wheel or part thereof becoming detached from motor vehicle, 79 A.L.R.3d 346.

Violation of OSHA regulation as affecting tort liability, 79 A.L.R.3d 962.

Amnesiac as entitled to presumption of due care, 88 A.L.R.3d 622.

Standard of care required of trustee representing itself to have expert knowledge or skill, 91 A.L.R.3d 904.

Legal malpractice in connection with attorney's withdrawal as counsel, 6 A.L.R.4th 342.

Standard of care owed to patient by medical specialist as determined by local, "like community," state, national, or other standards, 18 A.L.R.4th 603.

Liability of donor of motor vehicle for injuries resulting from owner's operation, 22 A.L.R.4th 738.

Newspaper's liability to reader-investor for negligent but nondefamatory misstatement of financial news, 56 A.L.R.4th 1162.

Products liability: toxic shock syndrome, 59 A.L.R.4th 50.

Liability for injury incurred in operation of power golf cart, 66 A.L.R.4th 622.

Rescue doctrine: liability of one who negligently causes motor vehicle accident for injuries to person subsequently attempting to rescue persons or property, 73 A.L.R.4th 737.

Legal malpractice: negligence or fault of client as defense, 10 A.L.R.5th 828.

Motorist's liability for signaling other vehicle or pedestrian to proceed, or to pass signaling vehicle, 14 A.L.R.5th 193.

Liability of school or school personnel in connection with suicide of student, 17 A.L.R.5th 179.

Recovery of damages for expense of medical monitoring to detect or prevent future disease or condition, 17 A.L.R.5th 327.

Liability of property owner for damages from spread of accidental fire originating on property, 17 A.L.R.5th 547.

Title insurer's negligent failure to discover and disclose defect as basis for liability in tort, 19 A.L.R.5th 786.

Liability of electric company to one other than employee for injury or death arising from commencement or resumption of service, 46 A.L.R.5th 423.

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