Negligence per se is codified under KRS 446.070. It provides that a person injured by the violation of any statute may recover from the offender such damages as he sustained by reason of the violation, although a penalty or forfeiture is imposed for such violation. The “any statute” language refers to Kentucky law only, it excludes federal law and local ordinances.
To recover on a common law negligence claim in Kentucky there must be a duty on the defendant’s part, a breach of that duty and a consequent injury. The Kentucky Supreme Court has adopted a “universal duty of care” which requires every person to exercise ordinary care in his/her activities to prevent foreseeable injury. In deciding whether harm is foreseeable, Kentucky courts look to the general foreseeability of harm, not to whether the particular form of injury could be foreseen.
Negligence per se is a negligence claim with a statutory standard of care substituted for the common law standard of care. Negligence per se only applies if the alleged offender has violated a statute and the plaintiff was in the class of persons while the statute intended to protect.