Negligently Causing Serious Injury

– section 24 of the Crimes Act 1958

Negligently Causing Serious Injury is when you do something, or you don't do something, and as a result, another person is seriously injured. You must have failed to exercise care in a way that is generally required.

Examples of Negligently Causing Serious Injury
  • You are Snapchatting while driving, and you crash into the car in front of you, causing the other driver to have their leg amputated.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Negligently Causing Serious Injury?
  • You did not owe a duty of care.
  • You did not cause serious injury.
  • You were not negligent.
  • You were under duress or there was an emergency.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • What did you do or not do?
  • Do you have a lawful excuse for your actions?
  • Can they prove that you seriously injured another person?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment. This offence is generally heard in the County Court.

“Did your actions cause serious injury to another person?”
What is the legal definition of Negligently Causing Serious Injury?

The Prosecution must prove that you owed the victim a duty of care and you breached that duty. Your act or omission, which breached the duty of care, was committed consciously, voluntarily and deliberately. The breach of your duty caused the victim to suffer a "serious injury".


The section that covers this offence is section 24 of the Crimes Act 1958.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

If you are found guilty of this charge you are likely to receive a prison sentence. The length of your sentence will vary, depending on your conduct and how seriously you breached your duty of care, as well as the seriousness of the injuries suffered by the victim.

Other Important Resources
Case Studies


[1] Crimes Act 1958 – Section 24

A person who by negligently doing or omitting to do an act causes serious injury to another person is guilty of an indictable offence.
Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).