Ordinary negligence vs. gross negligence: What’s the difference?

At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our team can explain the difference between gross negligence vs. ordinary negligence and discuss other legal topics with you. If you are dealing with a personal injury caused by a negligent party, we can help you out. For more information, please reach out to our skilled Chicago personal injury attorneys.

ordinary negligence vs gross negligence

What is negligence?

Negligence occurs when someone does not provide a level of care to another person that they would be expected to receive in a similar situation.

For instance, if you visit a neighbor’s home, you expect to be able to walk to the front door safely. However, if there are hazards that block your home’s front walkway, you may be considered negligent since any visitors could slip, trip, fall, and get hurt on your property.

What is ordinary negligence?

Ordinary negligence involves instances in which one person is expected to have a reasonable duty of care for another. For example, a driver has an ordinary duty of care when they’re behind the wheel of their car. If the motorist texts while driving and causes a car accident, they breach this duty of care.

What is gross negligence?

Gross negligence is considered to be a more severe form of ordinary negligence. If a person is grossly negligent, they’ve harmed others without considering how their actions will affect others. Or, an individual may be deemed grossly negligent if they were extremely careless, breached their duty of care, and caused an accident.

How do you tell the difference between ordinary and gross negligence?

It can be tough to differentiate between gross vs. ordinary negligence. This is due in part to the fact that states differ in how they quantify each type. Conversely, you may be able to use the reasonable person test to distinguish between ordinary negligence vs. gross negligence.

To perform this test, you’ll need to account for how a reasonable person would act when they’re given a specific set of circumstances. For instance, a reasonable person would be expected to follow the rules of the road but may be ordinarily negligent if they drive through a red light. Comparatively, this same driver would be grossly negligent if they hit a child while speeding through a school zone.

How do you prove ordinary vs. gross negligence?

In a personal injury case, four elements must be present for a plaintiff to prove that a defendant was negligent:

  • The defendant must have had a duty of care for the plaintiff.
  • The defendant breached this duty of care.
  • This breach caused the plaintiff’s injury.
  • The plaintiff was harmed due to the fact that the defendant breached their duty of care.

A personal injury attorney in Chicago can help an individual determine if someone else’s negligence caused their accident and injury. Also, the lawyer can perform ordinary negligence vs. gross negligence auditing. The attorney can build an argument in which they claim that the defendant was negligent, which caused their client to get hurt.

Do I need evidence to prove negligence?

Direct and circumstantial evidence can help you prove that someone was ordinarily or grossly negligent. Examples of direct evidence that you can use in a personal injury case include photos, videos, and witness testimony. Meanwhile, circumstantial evidence can be used to help a judge or jury draw conclusions based on the facts you present to support your case.

How do I file a lawsuit against the negligent person who caused my injury?

Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help you submit a personal injury claim. To request a free case consultation, please contact us online or call us at (800) 985-1819.

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