Understanding The Four Types Of Negligence In Personal Injury Cases

If you suffer harm due to another person's actions, you have suffered a personal injury. Your injury may be physical, mental, or even a type of financial hardship. To receive any kind of compensation, you must be able to prove negligence. But what is negligence, and why does this matter? Read on for more information. 

What Is Negligence?

Negligence can take many forms in personal injury law. It is a failure to provide a level of care to a person that another reasonable person would provide under similar circumstances. Proper care for both purposes includes what a person did or did not do.

To have your personal injury lawyer file an injury case based on negligence, you must be able to show the court the following:

  • The accused owed you a duty of care
  • The accused did not provide that duty
  • The missing duty caused your injuries
  • You suffered or sustained an injury due to the lack of duty

While you are proving this, the defendant's attorney will try to show that you, too, played a part in your injuries. Because if they can prove this, it could reduce or eliminate any compensation you are entitled to.

What Are the Differences in the Four Types of Negligence?

There are four different categories of how the courts view negligence. But while these categories may apply, individual states can look at negligence differently. 

Gross Negligence

This is the most severe form of negligence and is when a person acts with reckless disregard for their actions or the consequences of their actions. The person's recklessness goes beyond ordinary negligence. For example, a person texting while driving down the highway may be guilty of negligence, but if the same driver hits a child while driving and texting in a school zone, it becomes gross negligence. 

Contributory Negligence

This form of negligence considers any contributions you had in the accident. If the court finds you have contributed, it can deny you compensation. For example, if you are struck by a vehicle when crossing the street, and the defense can show that you were not in the crosswalk, the court may rule that your actions contributed to the accident and deny compensation. 

Comparative Negligence 

This form of negligence allows you to collect compensation even if you contribute to your accident. Still, the court may adjust your compensation based on your percentage of fault. Most states now use this in one of two forms. The forms are pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. These two forms vary in their application. 

Vicarious Negligence

This form occurs when someone is negligent through the actions or lack of actions of another. This form is often seen when employers are negligent due to the actions of their employees. 

Due to the complexity of personal injury cases, it is always best to seek the services of a personal injury attorney. Click here for more info about personal injury law.