Understanding The Personal Injury Process

The 3 Types Of Negligence And What They Mean For Your Case

Did someone's negligence cause you injury, financial loss, or both? If so, you may be able to recover financial damages to help you get back to your normal life. But which type of negligence did they commit? 

While most people may think that negligence is negligence, there are actually three important distinctions. Here's what every victim needs to know about them. 

Ordinary Negligence

The most common kind of negligence related to accidents is ordinary negligence. 

While it may not feel 'ordinary' to a victim, this level of negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable care. It manifests as a driver who gets distracted by the phone or drives over the posted speed limit, a property owner who fails to put up a sign on an icy sidewalk, or a landlord who doesn't perform sufficient maintenance. 

Ordinary negligence is judged based on what a jury determines is a reasonable level of caution or care based on the circumstances. It may also be adjusted when the defendant had a higher duty of care. 

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence goes one step further than ordinary negligence. These are acts in which the perpetrator knew or should have known that there was a serious risk of injury or death — and yet the person still did something anyway. 

Gross negligence is negligence for which there was a deliberate, willful, or reckless disregard for human life. It's a person who drinks then chooses to drive, a landlord who avoids even basic maintenance on rickety stairs, or a neighbor who ignored your warnings about their dead tree until it fell on someone. 

While some cases of gross negligence are easy to differentiate from the ordinary, others require more effort. However, they can also result in much higher financial damages, including punitive damages. 

Criminal Negligence

Finally, there is criminal negligence. In general, only gross acts of negligence are treated as potentially criminal acts. These must often further have an element of intention or maliciousness. Law enforcement and prosecutors decide when to prosecute. 

Whether or not prosecutors pursue criminal negligence, it's important to note that you may still pursue your civil lawsuit. While a conviction is helpful for your case, the lack of one doesn't preclude you from winning in civil court due to lower burdens of proof. 

Where Should You Start?

Which type of negligence was involved in your accident? How should you approach your case based on these factors? Find out by having a personal injury accident consultation with an attorney in your area today.

For more information, contact a company like Lake Munro, LLC.