How to Prove Negligence and Gross Negligence

Learning how to prove negligence in a personal injury claim is an important part of the claims process. All personal injury cases involve the element of negligence, and the victim will have to prove the other party’s negligence in order obtain compensation for losses after a serious accident.

However, sometimes the responsible party’s actions are more serious than ordinary negligence, something the law terms “gross negligence.” Proving gross negligence relies on demonstrating that the defendant blatantly disregarded a duty of care or intentionally caused injury to another. Bucks County personal injury lawyers can help victims unsure of how to prove negligence or need help doing so.

Gross Negligence vs. Ordinary Negligence

Here’s how to prove negligence in a case involving ordinary negligence:

  • had a legal duty of care;
  • failed to uphold that duty; and
  • those actions (or inaction) caused the victim actual injury.

 

The same steps apply for gross negligence, but with additional circumstances. Gross negligence is when the responsible party didn’t just act irresponsibly, but “grossly” irresponsibly, falling far short of the duty of care. In order for an accident victim to prove gross negligence, he or she will have to convince the courts that the defendant knew his or her actions were dangerous, yet decided to act anyway.

Proving Gross Negligence to the Courts

Wondering how to prove negligence was blatant or intentional? Presenting all possible pertinent forms of evidence to the courts and effectively demonstrating the circumstances of the accident will help the judge or jury rule accordingly. Bucks County personal injury lawyers can be instrumental in these types of cases to present all the facts to the courts and successfully demonstrate the other party was grossly negligent.

One of the most important elements in a gross negligence case is that the plaintiff will have to be able to prove that the other party blatantly disregarded his or her legal duty of care. For instance, if someone rolled through a stop sign and hit another car, it may be considered ordinary negligence. However, if an individual was drinking and driving, it may be considered a case of gross negligence.                                                                                                                     

Examples of Gross Negligence

Gross negligence can be difficult to differentiate from ordinary negligence and it may be more complicated to prove, but with proper legal representation, it can be done. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes is widely known for his succinct quip about gross negligence: “Even a dog knows the difference between being tripped over and being kicked.”

Here are few examples of gross negligence:

  • Hospital staff failed to read a patient’s charts when he went in for surgery, and administered the wrong medicine, necessitating additional surgery.
  • A driver was in the midst of a street race and caused a serious collision, injuring a driver in a nearby vehicle.
  • A hotel was remodeling its foyer and failed to sufficiently block off a dangerous stairwell under construction, causing a guest to fall from the second floor.

 

Consulting Bucks County Personal Injury Lawyers

When proving gross negligence was the cause of a serious accident, Bucks County personal injury lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC can help collect evidence and construct a case against the defendant. An attorney can also help victims better understand how to prove negligence in an ordinary negligence case and assist with the process.