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Difference Between Negligence & Gross Negligence

In the aftermath of a serious accident or personal injury, one of the things you will spend considerable time doing is building a solid personal injury case. Doing so while recovering from the stress and trauma of an accident is no small feat, and you are bound to make some errors.

Being informed about the basics of a personal injury case can go a long way in helping you steer the case in the right direction. One of the biggest issues faced is legalese, legal terminology that can often be vague and confuse you. Today, we hope to clarify one such vague but important pair of concepts, Negligence and Gross Negligence.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is the failure of a person to exercise reasonable precautions that any sensible person might take, leading to cause another person a serious harm or injury. The core concept of negligence is based on the premise that people must, at all points of time, consider the foreseeable impacts of their actions and the potential harm that can be caused, and act in a manner to avoid both.

Some examples of negligent acts would be:

  • A driver who runs a slowdown sign around school, hurting kids on the sidewalk
  • A doctor unknowingly prescribing wrong medication to a patient that gives the patient a reaction
  • A restaurant worker who fails to put a ‘Caution: Wet Floor’ sign after mopping the place

In each of these situations, the negligent party did not intend to cause harm, but their carelessness resulted in the accident. This intention is what separates Negligence from Gross Negligence.

What is Gross Negligence?

Gross Negligence is a willful and extreme disregard for another person’s safety and health. It is when a rational, prudent person knowingly performs acts that they know will cause injury to another. Examples of Gross Negligence would be:

  • A driver speeding in an area of heavy pedestrian traffic
  • A doctor prescribing medication to a patient that their medical records show they are allergic to
  • A restaurant that sources bad quality of meat or produce to cut costs, that ends up making guests sick

What is the Difference Between Negligence and Gross Negligence?

The basic difference between Negligence and Gross Negligence is the extreme ignorance of the consequences of one’s actions and a strong disregard for human life or property. Often, there is no way to clearly point out regular negligence from gross negligence.

The best way to tell the two apart is to examine the situation in which event occurs. If a toddler mistakenly tumbles from a cabinet while the parent was busy on a phonecall, that would be considered regular negligence. But if the same parent leaves the toddler in a locked car for an extended period of time, causing a heat stroke or death, that would be gross negligence.

Both negligence and gross negligence can occur in any setup, industry or environment. Sometimes an industry-specific custom can also be a factor that separates one from the other.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer for Help

Because of this, while it is possible to file a personal injury claim on your own, it is wiser to find a capable experienced personal injury lawyer to help you. A good personal injury lawyer not only has experience of past cases, but is also abreast of the changes or updates states may be making to their tort law, which can impact the merits of your case.

More importantly, they are able to take away the stresses associated with court filings and give you the time needed to recover from the accident. They also understand the rightful settlement that a case deserves and can get you the best possible damages.

Greathouse Trial Law manages personal injury cases across suburban Atlanta and can be your rightful partner in building a rock-solid case. For more information on filing personal injury claims, or to evaluate the facts of your case and determine if it holds merit, contact them for a free consultation.

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Riah Greathouse

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