Kim Welch Law is passionate about providing the tools and resources necessary to help individuals better understand their legal situations. As a personal injury attorney serving Las Vegas and Colorado Springs residents, Kim Welch wants you to understand the legal jargon that may be used throughout your case. Two terms that arise in legal matters are “ordinary negligence” and “gross negligence.” While these terms share some similarities, it is important to know the crucial differences between them. 

Ordinary negligence is when someone fails to use a level of care that another individual in the same situation would use. On the other hand, gross negligence is when someone purposely acts recklessly or with reckless disregard. Whether a person acts in ordinary negligence or gross negligence, their actions cause harm to another person, someone’s property, or both. Below, our team has gathered the core information about these two terms to help you better understand the difference between ordinary negligence and gross negligence. 

What Is Ordinary Negligence?

Ordinary negligence, also referred to as negligence, is when a person fails to use a standard of care that an ordinary person would have used under similar circumstances. The failure to behave reasonably usually causes harm to another individual. Some examples of negligence include:

  • A driver runs a red light and causes a car accident.
  • A person does not keep their dog on a leash during a walk and their dog bites someone.
  • A store manager fails to put up a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign after mopping the floors, and someone slips and falls. 
  • A hotel manager doesn’t replace the roof and it falls and injures someone.
  • The cook at a restaurant does not prepare food at the proper temperature and a patron falls ill with food poisoning.

Even though the people in the examples did not purposely harm others, their failure to take certain precautions resulted in serious harm. People can still be held legally responsible even if they did not injure someone on purpose. Depending on the injuries and the severity of the accident, victims may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, therapy, and pain and suffering. 

What Are The Five Elements Of Negligence?

If you are in an accident that you believe was caused by someone’s negligence, you must prove that the five elements of negligence were present. Proving that these elements were present will help build your case and help your chances of being compensated for your damages. The five elements of negligence are:

  1. Duty
    • The defendant had an obligation to act with a duty of care to prevent harm to you and others.
  2. Breach
    • The inability for someone to act with reasonable care harmed you.
  3. Causation
    • The defendant’s actions directly caused you to be injured or harmed in some way.
  4. Proximate Cause
    • An ability to show the connection between the defendant’s actions and your injuries from the accident.
  5. Harm or Damages
    • Proving the plaintiff was hurt or damaged because of someone else’s negligence. 

What Is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence is when an individual consciously disregards the safety of others. If someone is found to be guilty of gross negligence, it can result in the victim being awarded punitive damages, in addition to general and special damages. Some examples of gross negligence are:

  • A driver speeds through a crosswalk where there is a lot of foot traffic.
  • Someone purposefully rams into the car in front of them during a fit of road rage.
  • A business sells a toxic product they know is harmful.
  • Truck companies knowingly make their trucks carry more weight than is allowed so they can make more money. 

What Is A Negligence Claim?

If you are in an accident and believe someone’s negligence was the cause of the accident, it is crucial you speak with a personal injury lawyer immediately. Your lawyer will be able to investigate your case, determine if ordinary negligence or gross negligence is a factor, and file a negligence claim for you. It is important to hire an attorney experienced in personal injury claims and negligence claims because they will be able to gather evidence and build your case, handle all communication with other parties involved, make sure your claim is filed within the statute of limitations, and help you understand the legal logistics of your negligence claim. By hiring an attorney who is experienced with negligence claims, you have a much better chance of being awarded the compensation you deserve. 

Kim Welch Law Can Help You And Your Negligence Claim

As a personal injury attorney in Colorado Springs and Las Vegas, Kim Welch is proud to fight for her clients to receive the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one were in an accident and believe it was a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a negligence claim. Contact our office today, and after gathering evidence about your case, we will be able to inform you whether or not you are eligible to file a negligence claim. If you have any questions about your case or would like more information about the difference between ordinary negligence and gross negligence, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team!