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The Difference Between Ordinary Negligence & Gross Negligence

Posted on January 3, 2023 in

Injuries are often caused by the negligence of other parties. Determining liability is how victims recover compensation, and this always revolves around showing how the other party was negligent. However, there is a difference between “ordinary negligence” and “gross negligence.” Here, we want to examine the difference between these two and explain how this could affect a personal injury claim.

What is Ordinary Negligence?

Ordinary negligence is what most people deal with when handling insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits. This is the type of negligence that happens when an at-fault party fails to take reasonable precautions that another prudent person would take in a similar scenario, thus causing harm to somebody else. 

One of the most common examples of ordinary negligence that occurs on a daily basis throughout Colorado includes drivers failing to follow traffic laws, leading to an accident. Another example of ordinary negligence can include property owners failing to take steps to ensure their premises is safe or failing to put up adequate signage to warn guests of hazards. 

In these examples of negligence, the at-fault party did not necessarily mean to cause harm to other individuals. However, their actions nonetheless resulted in an incident occurring that caused an injury. 

Even though the responsible party didn’t intend to cause another person harm, they can still be held responsible for the damages. Victims may be able to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation for their medical bills, property damage expenses, lost wages, and any other costs associated with the incident.

What is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence is usually defined as individuals operating with a reckless disregard for the safety of others or an extreme indifference to the safety of others. This is more than just simple carelessness or a failure to act responsibly, like the examples we mentioned above. Gross negligence revolves around intentional actions or actions that a person took when they were well aware that their conduct was likely to cause harm to another.

One example of gross negligence would be a driver intentionally speeding through an area heavily populated by pedestrians, perhaps a public square. Drag racing in an area where this type of activity is prohibited is another example of gross negligence. Other examples of gross negligence can include nursing home staff members failing to treat an obvious injury to a resident for days at a time or a doctor failing to obtain informed consent from a patient before a medical procedure. 

Any victim of another person’s gross negligence will typically be able to recover the same types of compensation mentioned in the ordinary negligence section above. However, the egregiousness of the defendant’s actions may result in a person recovering additional types of compensation through punitive damages.

Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the negligent actions of another, you need to speak to a skilled Denver personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Regardless of whether or not you were harmed due to another person’s ordinary or gross negligence, an attorney can investigate the claim and help you recover compensation for your losses.