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Negligence vs. Gross Negligence: What’s the Difference?

Negligence is a type of legal standard used to determine responsibility for certain injuries or damages. To be negligent, someone must have caused harm by failing to take.  The difference between ordinary negligence and gross negligence is important in personal injury cases.

Generally speaking, one can expect harsher legal penalties on those indicted on gross negligence charges as opposed to those who are found guilty of ordinary acts of carelessness. In other words, being grossly negligent means you acted intentionally without consideration for the consequences.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is behavior that falls below the standard of reasonable care in any given situation. It occurs when someone fails to act as a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances and ends up causing harm to another person or their property. Negligence can result in an individual being held financially liable for the damages caused by their careless actions.

An example of everyday negligence would be a driver who runs a red light and rear-ends another car while on their way to work—even though it was an accident, they weren’t acting with proper caution when they decided to accelerate through the intersection.

An example of gross negligence might happen if that same driver were on their way to work after drinking several alcoholic beverages throughout the evening—this decision shows a complete disregard for safety and society’s laws regardless of whether they may get hurt.

How do you prove negligence?

Proving negligence can be a complex endeavor, especially when the defendant denies any wrongdoing. In order for someone to prove that another party was negligent and should therefore be held accountable for resulting damages, they must establish several elements. First, it must be demonstrated that the accused owed a duty to act reasonably in regard to the other person’s safety or wellbeing; this is often referred to as a ‘duty of care’.

If it is established that such a duty existed and was not fulfilled by the accused, then the evidence must support further claims that their breach of care caused an injury for which the plaintiff cannot accept responsibility with. In addition to proving causation, it must also be shown that the defendant should have reasonably understood that their breach might lead to harm.

Finally, it needs to be demonstrated that actual damages were suffered due to this negligence. When all four of these elements are proven in court, there is a greater probability of success in obtaining compensation for damages resulting from the incident.

What is gross negligence?

Negligence vs. Gross Negligence
Negligence and Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is behavior that disregards the health and safety of others to a reckless extent. Actions that would constitute gross negligence go beyond simple carelessness and are known as willful, pertaining to behaviors done with extreme disregard for those around them. Examples of such behavior include:

  • A driver speeding in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic
  • Medical personnel prescribe drugs to patients when their medical records clearly mention they have an allergy to them
  • The nursing home staff not providing water or food for several days

Pursuing a Negligence Claim

Pursuing a negligence claim is a serious matter, and it’s important to understand the difference between negligence and gross negligence when doing so. Negligence involves a deliberate disregard of an obligation or duty, while gross negligence is characterized by extreme carelessness or recklessness that results in injury or death.

At Phillips Law Offices we have experience and knowledge possessed by our team ensure that we are well-equipped to help you get full and fair compensation for all losses caused by the accident, including medical expenses, wage loss, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, and any other losses related to the incident.

Our goal is always twofold: To help you successfully seek compensation for your losses while providing you with aggressive legal representation at every stage of the process. With our personal injury lawyers‘ help, victims of negligence will not have to worry about confronting powerful entities on their own as we ensure that justice is served efficiently and effectively.


The difference between negligence and gross negligence lies in the extent of carelessness that is taken. Negligence involves a certain degree of carelessness that can cause harm to another person or their property, while gross negligence goes beyond typical carelessness and involves willful disregard for the safety of others. The consequences for each type of negligence can vary greatly depending on the circumstances but may include monetary.

Also Reads:

How Do You Prove an Accident Caused Your Back Injury?

How to Prove Fault in a Chicago Truck Accident Case

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