Negligence is an oft-used but oft-misunderstood term in the world of personal injury. It can occur in multiple degrees of severity. These, in turn, impact the extent to which victims suffer — and their eligibility for personal injury damages. Understanding these distinctions is critical when seeking compensation.
The ideal Las Vegas personal injury attorney will be prepared to fight on your behalf regardless of the level of negligence. Additionally, lawyers should be prepared to adjust their legal approach according to the situation at hand.
Struggling to understand the variations in negligence — or how these might impact your Las Vegas personal injury case? Below, we highlight the difference between ordinary and gross negligence, along with options for securing the damages you deserve in either situation.
What Is Ordinary Negligence?
Negligence without the designation of gross refers to a baseline level that, while unacceptable, is not malicious or irredeemably reckless. In most cases, ordinary negligence can be thought of as simple carelessness that leads to unforeseen, but unacceptable suffering.
Ordinary negligence means that the person responsible for the accident failed to meet the usual standard of care that would be expected in a particular situation. For example: drivers are expected to abide by the speed limit and obey traffic signs. When they fail to do so, they may be exhibiting ordinary negligence — but probably not gross negligence. If speeding or similar behaviors lead to car accidents, drivers may be held liable in personal injury lawsuits.
Ordinary negligence underscores the majority of personal injury cases. Typically, it will lead to compensatory damages (such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering). Punitive damages, however, are less likely when this type of negligence is at play.
What Is Gross Negligence?
Gross negligence goes above and beyond its ordinary counterpart. Unlike cases involving ordinary negligence, a gross negligence designation will often pave the way to punitive damages, which aim to hold perpetrators accountable for unusually egregious behavior.
Returning to the car accident example highlighted above, gross negligence might occur if the driver in question was extremely intoxicated while operating a vehicle. A blood alcohol content (BAC) of, for example, 0.2 percent (as opposed to the legal limit of 0.08) would be deemed indicative of gross negligence by many legal authorities.
Even when a clear metric such as BAC is available, gross negligence can often be difficult to prove. Hence, the need for a personal injury attorney who can make the most of available evidence. In these situations, lawyers must be prepared to fight aggressively on behalf of their clients.
Vegas Valley Injury Law: Guidance For All Types of Negligence Victims
The distinctions between ordinary and gross negligence are important — but in the end, all victims deserve justice. Even seemingly minor injuries prompted by small instances of negligence can prove devastating over time. No matter the circumstances of the accident or the extent of the suffering, it’s important for all victims to get the support they need.
At Vegas Valley Injury Law, we have a strong track record in many areas of personal injury. We’ve assisted clients who’ve suffered from accidents caused by both ordinary and gross negligence. Our approach is always highly compassionate, as we recognize that all types of clients find the legal process stressful. Our goal: remove the anxiety and guesswork so that our clients can focus on recovering from accidents of all kinds.
Interested in learning more about our approach to personal injury law? Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation.