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What is incompetence?

Competence concerns whether a person possesses the skill and knowledge to meet the standard of care of a reasonable person. We can explain competence and incompetence using examples in the context of road safety and car accidents.

We all know that automobile driver knowledge of rules of the road and skill in operating a motor vehicle varies greatly (especially in Newfoundland and Labrador!) Some of us would think there are drivers on the roads who should not be on the roads because of a lack of driving skill and knowledge. In effect, this means they are incompetent, because they do not possess the skill and knowledge to be driving. If you can prove that someone is an incompetent driver and caused your accident, it will be very difficult for that person's lawyer to defend him or her.

The question of competence precedes the question of negligence, which is a failure to meet the standard of care expected of a reasonable person. For more on negligence, click this link.