Understanding the Difference Between Negligence and Gross Negligence

What is Negligence?

If someone is found to be negligent, it can mean that they were found to have failed to behave in a manner that a responsible person in their shoes would have behaved. To act negligently can indicate either that you chose a specific action or that you chose to avoid a certain action when you had a duty of care to those around you.

Some common examples of negligence can be speeding in a school zone that leads to an accident, a pet owner’s failure to secure their dog, which led to a dog bite injury, a defective product that led to injury, a slip and fall on a property where the owner didn’t ensure the property was safe and more.

Four Elements of Negligence

Four elements must be proven if you are pursuing negligent actions. According to the Colorado Judicial Branch, “to recover a negligence claim, the plaintiff must establish the existence of a legal duty on the defendant’s part, a breach of that duty, causation, and damages. This burden or proof will lie on you with the help of your experienced personal injury attorney.

The first element is that the accused had a duty to care for the injured party as other reasonable people would have in that situation.

The accused breached the duty of care, acted in negligence, and avoided their duty to the injured party.

The third element is causation – the breach of duty directly resulted in an injury.

Finally, the fourth element is damages. Damages were caused directly due to the breach of duty to act with care.

These four elements must be present and clear for all relevant parties to see to prove that the accused acted in a negligent manner, which resulted in personal injury.

Proving all four required elements can be challenging for those not well-versed in the legal world. You can opt to gather evidence such as medical records, police records, and more, but having an experienced personal injury attorney to rely on can ensure that all angles are adequately presented in court and the elements of negligence are apparent.

What is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence is similar to negligence in that the same four elements must be proven, and some examples may be similar. However, gross negligence implies that the negligence has escalated somehow. This escalation can be attributed to the accused acting with extreme disregard for others’ safety or that they intentionally put others in harm’s way through reckless or careless actions.

Examples of gross negligence may be medical staff in a nursing home refusing to feed or care for patients for several days, a driver choosing to hit a person or another vehicle with their car out of anger, or an intoxicated driver speeding down a highway and colliding with other vehicles.

Modified Comparative Negligence

What does modified comparative negligence mean, and how can it affect the damages you pursue? Due to the law of modified comparative negligence in Colorado, even if you are found to have some fault in the actions that led up to your injuries, you may still be able to recover damages at a discounted rate.

For example, if it’s found that you were 10% at fault and the other party is found to be 90% at fault for the injuries that occurred, you may be eligible to recover 90% of the damages rather than the complete 100% due to your percentage of fault.

It’s important to note that if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the injuries, you are likely not eligible to recover any damages. This rule makes establishing fault accurately crucial to pursuing damages.

What Types of Damages May I Be Eligible For in Personal Injury Cases?

Some of the damages you may be entitled to in a personal injury case are the compensation to cover medical bills, property damage, future medical bills, lost wages, and more. These damages fall into the economic damages category.
Non-economic damages may also be reasonable, depending on your case, and they can include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and more.

Proving non-economic damages can be challenging as they are typically not tangible, such as a medical bill or other economic damages, but your skilled attorney can ensure that all angles are presented accurately and you can get the compensation that is rightfully yours.

Don’t Settle For Less

Personal injuries can not only disrupt our lives temporarily but can affect us for the rest of our lives. You shouldn’t have to endure the trauma and pain that is associated with an injury that may affect you for the rest of your life without proper compensation.

The focus for you following an accident should be to heal and ensure that you can get back to life as you knew it before the injury. Lean on your experienced personal injury attorney to gather evidence, recreate the incident if necessary, establish fault accurately, handle negotiations, and more.

With several years of helping clients in Colorado pursue the damages they deserve, we are confident that we can also effectively assist you. Let us handle communication with other parties and negotiations and become a fierce advocate for you in the courtroom should it come to that.

Call our office today at (720) 707-0870 to schedule your free initial consultation and discover the best options. Let us work together to get you through this chapter of your life and onto the next while obtaining the rightful compensation you deserve.

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