A gavel, a hand holding a red arrow progressively decreasing, and the words negligence vs gross negligence

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Negligence is a legal term that is often used to describe the cause of a personal injury or death. Another common cause in personal injury cases is gross negligence, which is distinguished from regular negligence in the level of intent behind the actions. Here is a breakdown of negligence vs gross negligence:

Major Difference Between Negligence and Gross Negligence

The main difference between negligence and gross negligence is the intent and thought behind the action. Negligence occurs when someone fails to use the level of care or caution that is reasonably expected in the circumstances. Gross negligence, on the other hand, occurs when someone carelessly and recklessly has a fundamental disregard for the safety and reasonable treatment of others.

Examples of Negligence

  • A driver accidentally runs a red light

  • A nurse forgets to record a patient allergy

  • A property owner does not replace a weak board on their porch

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, disregarding the fact that it is recorded in the patient’s file that they are allergic to said 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 straightforward, but not always. 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.

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 five elements:

  • Duty – The accused must have had a duty to take certain actions or refrain from taking certain actions in order 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 to. 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 shaking a little, 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 2 percent of Texas attorneys have this certification.