What is the Difference between Negligence and Gross Negligence?

The concept of negligence is not foreign to us. Leaving objects lying about on the floor might cause you or someone to slip. However, when you intentionally set up objects on the same floor to hurt someone, that’s not recklessness. It’s something much worse – gross negligence. You knew the consequences, yet you planned for it to happen.

This is similar to the case of negligence and gross negligence. While these words seem like synonyms of each other, they do not mean the same thing. In this article, we help you understand the difference between both terms. We also highlight what to do when you are a victim of one or both of such acts.

What Is Negligence?

“Negligence” is also known as ordinary negligence. This term refers to a person’s failure to use the appropriate level of care and situation in a circumstance. Most times, negligence could result in injury or harm to another person.

We outline instances of ordinary negligence below:

  • A store owner who fails to nail down loose boards on his steps. These loose boards later cause someone to trip and fall.
  • A person who leaves his dog poorly chained or chained within reach of passersby without giving them prior information
  • A doctor who applies the wrong dosage of medicine to a patient and eventually causes him harm

You should note that intent is not present in ordinary negligence cases. The perpetrator of the act causes harm to the victim through an unintentional act of carelessness. However, whether they intended to cause you injury or harm does not matter if they ended up hurting you. As such, they might still be legally responsible for the hurt they caused you.

Proving Negligence

The following elements are important for you to file a lawsuit against a defendant in a case of negligence.

  • Duty

Did the defendant owe you a duty to ensure that you are protected under those circumstances? Did you think that he/she would do his/her duty and hence trusted him/her to do just that?

  • Breach

Did the defendant breach this duty of care through his actions or inaction?

  • Causation

Did the breach of care cause you to sustain any injury or put you in harm’s way?

  • Damages

Did you get hurt by the actions or inaction of the defendant?

If you can prove that these occurred, you may seek compensation for the hurt or damages you sustained. This could include medical bills, lost wages, therapy, property replacement, financial compensation for trauma, etc.

What Is Gross Negligence?

This goes a step further than ordinary negligence. It is wrongful or vengeful intent to cause harm to a person. Usually, this involves a planned disregard for another person’s safety. It could also apply in the case of the safety of your property or pets. Gross negligence refers to this.

Instances of gross negligence are stated below:

  • A store owner knows that the nails are loose, has seen people trip on those stairs, and still does nothing about it.
  • A surgeon who knows there are other ways to treat you recommends an amputation and goes on to perform the surgery.
  • A home-owner leaves his dog unchained intentionally when he knows there are people around.

Unlike ordinary negligence cases, gross negligence cases are usually deliberate. The perpetrator knew what harm their actions or inactions could cause, and they still decided on the course of action they took.

In gross negligence cases, the defendant’s insurance company may award you more compensation than ordinary negligence. If your lawyer can prove that the defendant’s actions were deliberate, you are well on your way to getting fair compensation.

How Can You Institute a Negligence Claim?

From the outset, pursuing a negligence claim might seem like a little too much work to do. This is especially in ordinary negligence cases where you understand that there was no harmful intent behind the actions. However, it still is important to speak to an attorney to help you pursue your negligence claim.

What you need to do is present your attorney with the facts about the incident. He/she will investigate the incident to have hard facts to back up your case. Your lawyers will also speak with the defendant and his lawyers to ensure that they understand what’s at stake.

Contact a Lawyer to Help You Today

A personal injury lawsuit is not foreign to us at Pinder Plotkin LLC. Our lawyers are world-class, experienced professionals who ensure that they leave no stones turned. We will ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to get started.

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