California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

419. Presumption of Negligence per se (Causation Only at Issue)

[Insert citation to statute, regulation, or ordinance] states:

A violation of this law has been established and is not an issue for you to decide.

[However, you must decide whether the violation was excused. If it was not excused, then you] [You] must decide whether the violation was a substantial factor in harming [name of plaintiff].

If you decide that the violation was a substantial factor, then you must find that [name of plaintiff/defendant] was negligent.

New September 2003; Revised December 2011

Directions for Use

The California Law Revision Commission comment on Evidence Code section 669 states that the trier of fact usually decides the question of whether the violation occurred. However, “if a party admits the violation or if the evidence of the violation is undisputed, it is appropriate for the judge to instruct the jury that a violation of the statute, ordinance, or regulation has been established as a matter of law.” In such cases, the jury would decide causation and, if applicable, the existence of any justification or excuse. For an instruction on excuse, see CACI No. 420, Negligence per se: Rebuttal of the Presumption of Negligence (Violation Excused). See also Sources and Authority to CACI No. 418, Presumption of Negligence per se.

Sources and Authority

  • Evidence Code section 669(a) provides:

    The failure of a person to exercise due care is presumed if:

    (1) He violated a statute, ordinance, or regulation of a public entity;

    (2) The violation proximately caused death or injury to person or property;

    (3) The death or injury resulted from an occurrence of the nature which the statute, ordinance, or regulation was designed to prevent; and

    (4) The person suffering the death or the injury to his person or property was one of the class of persons for whose protection the statute, ordinance, or regulation was adopted.

Secondary Sources

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 871–896

California Tort Guide (Cont.Ed.Bar 3d ed.) §§ 1.28–1.31

1 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 3, Proof of Negligence, § 3.10 (Matthew Bender)

4 California Trial Guide, Unit 90, Closing Argument, § 90.89 (Matthew Bender)

33 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 380, Negligence, § 380.110 (Matthew Bender)

16 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 165, Negligence, §§ 165.70, 165.80 (Matthew Bender)