Types of Negligence for Personal Injury Claims

Types of Negligence for Personal Injury Claims

by / Monday, 23 November 2020 / Published in Personal Injury
Book with Personal Injury Law printed on cover next to a gavel.

If you’ve been injured in any kind of accident, whether it’s a car accident, a slip and fall, or a workplace accident, there’s one word that’s going to come up a lot: negligence. So what exactly is negligence? Negligence refers to a failure to exercise a reasonable amount of care toward others. For example, in a car accident case, an act of negligence could be failing to stop at a stop sign or not bothering to look into a neighboring lane before moving over. Or in a slip and fall case, the negligent act might be the owner of a property refusing to replace a long burned-out light bulb in a stairway or not cleaning up water on the floor from a leaking roof.

When proving a negligence claim, there are four key things that will need to be proven:

  • The defendant had a responsibility to show reasonable care to you

  • The defendant failed to fulfill that responsibility

  • Their actions caused harm

  • You suffered some type of damages because of the harm they caused

With that basic understanding of negligence in mind, it’s important to understand that there’s more than one type of negligence.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is the most egregious type of negligence. This type of negligence occurs when someone acts with a blatant disregard for the safety and wellbeing of others in a way that goes beyond general carelessness. For example, many car accidents are caused by general carelessness, but if a drunk driver gets behind the wheel and causes an accident, that may be considered gross negligence. Or if medical professionals don’t follow standard protocols for confirming which procedure a patient needs and a patient ends up getting the wrong type of surgery, that could fall in the category of gross negligence.

Comparative Negligence

In some situations, liability for an accident might be split between parties depending on how at fault each person was for the accident. When comparative negligence is involved, liability might be split 50-50, 90-10, 95-5, 60-40, or any other number of combinations depending on the exact details of the case. This means that a total settlement for an injured person would be reduced by the amount they’re found to be at fault. So if your total damages were $50,000 and you were not at all at fault, you would be awarded the full $50,000. But if you were found to be 10% at fault, your total judgement would be reduced by 10%.

Vicarious Liability

If someone is injured by the actions of someone/something who is under the care or supervision of someone else at the time, the concept of vicarious liability can be involved. For example, if a dog attacks a person, the dog’s owner would most likely be liable for any injuries caused. Even though this type of liability is most commonly used in dog bite cases, it can also apply in other situations, such as if someone is injured by the actions of an employee who was acting in the scope of their job at the time or if a child/teen caused an injury to someone else. In those situations, liability could fall on the employer or parent respectively.

Contact a Michigan Personal Injury Lawyer

Have questions about negligence and how it applies to your case? Give us a call. The personal injury lawyers at Goodwin & Scieszka are highly experienced in handling a wide range of Michigan injury cases. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Image: iStock / designer491

TOP