What are the 4 Types of Negligence?

When an individual sustains an injury caused by the actions of someone else, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, these cases can become confusing, especially when it comes to the terminology involved. One of the words regularly used surrounding personal injury claim is “negligence.” However, the word “negligence” can mean a few different things. Here, we want to discuss the four types of negligence most commonly talked about when it comes to personal injury claims in Washington.

Ordinary Negligence

In general, we usually deal with ordinary negligence when we are talking about personal injury claims. Ordinary negligence occurs anytime a person fails to uphold the standard of care that they owe to others because they acted in a way that a reasonably prudent would not have acted under similar circumstances.

Ordinary negligence is based on the duty of care that one person owes another. Duty of care will vary depending on the types of situations we are discussing. For example, every driver owes a duty of care to act responsibly to ensure the safety of others around them. Medical professionals owe a different type of duty of care to their patients, and property owners owe a duty of care to anyone who has a right to be on their premises. 

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is usually defined by one person displaying a lack of care that demonstrates a reckless disregard for the lives or safety of others. This is vastly different from ordinary negligence. With ordinary negligence, we typically find that the at-fault party did not intend to cause harm to the other parry. However, gross negligence occurs when a person knows very well that their actions could cause harm to others, and this type of negligence can even be the result of intentional actions.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence occurs when more than one individual is at fault for causing an injury to someone else. There are various types of comparative negligence laws around the country. Often, states use “modified comparative negligence” laws to handle situations where multiple parties are at fault. In these types of systems, individuals will generally be able to recover compensation for an incident so long as they are not 50% or 51% or more responsible.

However, Washington operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system, which means that individuals can recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for causing their own injury. Regardless of whether or not the state operates under a modified or pure comparative negligence system, individuals will receive reduced compensation based on their percentage of fault for the incident.

Contributory Negligence

Some states around the country operate off of a “contributory negligence” system. Under this type of negligence-based system, an individual will be unable to recover compensation if they were responsible for causing their injury in any way. Even if an individual is only 1% responsible for causing their own injury, the contributory negligence system will bar them from covering compensation.

Working With an Attorney

If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident caused by the actions of someone else, you need to speak to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. A Washington personal injury lawyer can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the incident and help their client recover total compensation. An attorney can help combat any accusations of shared fault in order to help clients recover more compensation on their own.