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What Are The Different Types Of Negligence?

September 15, 2021

Injuries often occur due to the negligent actions of other individuals, businesses, or entities. But what does “negligence” mean exactly? People use the term negligence in various ways. Here, we want to examine the definitions of five types of negligence that may arise in a personal injury claim in Anaheim.

Ordinary Negligence

Negligence occurs when a person does not uphold a standard of care that they owe to others because they failed to act in a way that a reasonably prudent person would act under similar circumstances. Ordinary negligence is defined differently based on what type of duty of care a person owes another. For example, drivers owe a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely on the roadway. Grocery store employees owe a duty of care to those who come to the location to shop. When a person breaches their duty of care to others, this can lead to serious injuries.


Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is typically defined as an individual displaying a lack of care that demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety or lives of other individuals. This is different from ordinary negligence. This type of negligence is often intentional. In some cases, injury victims are able to receive punitive damages in cases where they are harmed due to the gross negligence of others.

Comparative Negligence

There are various types of comparative negligence used in states across this country. Most often, states use what is called a “modified comparative negligence” system to handle situations that arise where more than one party is at fault for a personal injury. In these cases, individuals can still recover compensation for their injuries so long as they are not 50% or 51% responsible for the incident. Depending on the state, any person 50% or 51% or more responsible for their injuries will not be able to recover compensation.

However, in a modified comparative negligence state, individuals less than 50% or 51% responsible for their injury will still be able to recover compensation. In those states, the total amount of compensation the individual receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

California, on the other hand, operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that individuals can recover compensation for an injury even if they are up to 99% at fault. Again, the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

Contributory Negligence

Some states in the US still use what is called a contributory negligence system. In these jurisdictions, individuals will not be able to recover any compensation for their injuries if they are responsible for the incident in any way. Even if a person is only 1% responsible for causing their own injuries, they will be barred from recovering compensation.

Most states across the country have moved away from contributory negligence systems. California does not use any type of contributory negligence system.

Vicarious Negligence

The theory of vicarious negligence is used to hold one person or entity responsible for the actions of another person or animal. For example, if a truck driver causes an accident, vicarious liability would essentially allow the truck driver’s employer to be held responsible for the incident. For a dog bite case, the dog owner would hold vicarious liability for the incident and have to pay compensation due to the actions of the dog.


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