Understanding the Difference Between Ordinary Negligence and Gross Negligence: Insights from a Negligence Attorney in Haines City, Florida

The terms “ordinary negligence” and “gross negligence” are frequently used in legal discourses, but many people are unaware of the difference between the two. While not knowing the difference is not a big deal on a day-to-day basis, it is something to be aware of if you need to file a claim for compensatory damages.

Below, this negligence attorney in Haines City, Florida is going to explain the difference between ordinary and gross negligence, and we’ll also explain how you can obtain the maximum compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered.

What is Ordinary Negligence?

Ordinary negligence occurs when a person fails to take precautions that any reasonably prudent person would take in the same or similar circumstances, and their actions end up harming another person. It is likely to result from a careless mistake or inattention that results in an injury and related losses.

For example, let’s assume that a distracted driver accidentally runs a stop sign and hits a pedestrian. In this case, the driver had no intention of causing harm to others, but their negligence still resulted in an injury. Even if they had no intention of causing harm, they would likely be held legally liable for the resulting damage.

Injured parties can seek compensation for their current and future medical expenses, loss of earnings, property damage, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with the accident by partnering with a Haines City negligence attorney and filing a personal injury lawsuit.

How to Prove Ordinary Negligence?

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you must demonstrate the following critical elements:

The defendant owed you a legal duty of care to take reasonable precautions to keep you safe, but their actions breached that legal duty. These actions — or in some cases, inactions — were the direct cause of your injuries and losses.

If all these elements are there, you may have a legitimate personal injury lawsuit on your hand. An experienced negligence attorney in Haines City, Florida will be able to review your case and determine the next best steps.

What Is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence is more than just being reckless or failing to act reasonably. It is the willful and reckless disregard for the rights, safety, or life of others. It is an action that is done with the intention of causing harm.

For example, let’s assume that a driver is speeding through a pedestrian crossing zone and hits someone. Because the injury was caused by deliberate action, in this case, the court has the discretion to increase the amount of damages, and also include “punitive damages.”

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) are meant to punish the defendant’s actions rather than compensate the plaintiff. The idea behind punitive damages is that the punishment will deter the defendant and others from committing similar acts of willful wrongdoing or gross negligence in the future. 

As a plaintiff, you should know that Florida limits the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded to you. You can receive up to 3x the amount of damages awarded, or $500,000 — whichever amount is greater.

Looking for the Top-Rated Negligence Attorney in Haines City, Florida?

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you’ll want to partner with an experienced negligence attorney in Haines City, Florida to protect your rights. The personal injury attorneys at O’Toole Law Group have the experience and expertise to help you build the strongest possible case and secure the maximum amount of compensation.

We handle personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means you do not pay us anything until we win your case. Contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation.

O'Toole Law Group

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