Negligence is a legal term often used to describe the cause of a personal injury or death. Another common cause in personal injury cases is gross negligence, distinguished from regular negligence in the level of intent behind the actions. Here is a breakdown of negligence vs. gross negligence.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence describes the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. This can involve someone acting carelessly or failing to perform a duty or act. For example, it would be negligence if a homeowner knows one of the steps on their porch is broken but does nothing to fix it or warn guests of the danger and the broken stair results in an injury.
Common Examples of Negligence:
- A driver accidentally runs a red light
- A nurse forgets to record a patient’s allergy
- A property owner does not replace a weak board on their porch.
What Is Gross Negligence?
Gross negligence is a term used to describe the reckless disregard or extreme indifference for another’s safety. Gross negligence refers to purposeful behavior that endangers the safety and well-being of others.
Examples of Gross Negligence:
- A driver knowingly blows through a red light when there are pedestrians getting ready to enter the crosswalk
- A doctor prescribes a medication to a patient despite record of the patient being allergic to the medication
- A property removes rotten wood from their porch but does not replace it, leaving a hole
Determining whether an action was negligent or grossly negligent is sometimes, but not always, straightforward. Personal injury cases are often very nuanced, and it takes a dedicated personal injury attorney to sort through the details and determine whether a case meets the criteria for negligence or gross negligence.
What Is Involved in Pursuing a Claim Based on Negligence?
If you wish to prove negligence in the state of Texas, your case must meet certain criteria. First, you must have enough evidence to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. You must also be able to prove the following:
- Duty: The accused must have had a duty to take certain actions or refrain from taking certain actions to prevent injury. For example, it is generally agreed that a driver has a duty to pay attention to traffic lights and obey them.
- Breach of Duty: You must prove that the defendant did not act the way they were obligated too. Building on the above scenario, you would have to prove that the defendant did not pay attention to traffic laws, ran a red light, and hit your vehicle in the intersection.
- Cause in Fact: You must show that your injury was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. Whiplash sustained from the collision between your vehicle and the defendant’s would be one such example.
- Foreseeability: It must be generally understood that a person of ordinary intelligence should have anticipated the danger created by a negligent act or omission. For example, everyone knows that running a red light may create danger to other people on the road.
- Damages: Lastly, you must have damages. If the driver in question breezes through a red light, narrowly missing your car, you won’t have damages. You may be shaken, but without an impact, you won’t have sustained measurable damage.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you have rights. Call the offices of Juan Hernandez to find out how you can seek compensation for your injury. Juan Hernandez is a board-certified personal injury attorney—only two percent of Texas attorneys have this certification. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.