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April 9, 2021 | Gary Burger

What is the Difference Between Gross Negligence and Ordinary Negligence?

When looking at personal injury cases or personal injury law, you may have come across the term "gross negligence." General negligence is something a person did or failed to do that put a victim in harm's way. But there is a difference between a personal injury case where someone made a minor or unintentional mistake and one where they were severely reckless or asking purposefully. The law makes the distinction between the two by categorizing the action or inaction as ordinary negligence or gross negligence.

Regardless of the severity or degree of intent behind the person's behavior, many personal injury cases are difficult to win without the representation of a skilled personal injury lawyer. The insurance company will try to get you to agree to a low settlement or a defendant may deny responsibility, even in obvious cases of gross negligence. Hire the experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyers of Burger Law to protect you and secure the case result you truly deserve. Burger Law is ready to fight for you. Just give us a call at 314-542-2222 or message us now.



When you get in a car accident, trip on a broken sidewalk, or are bitten by a dog, you have suffered because of another person's negligence. There is some kind of negligence in any personal injury case. Negligence can be committed by an individual or an organization. In some cases, there are multiple negligent parties to pursue claims against.

Part of your personal injury lawyer's job is to determine who is negligent, prove their negligence, and demand an accurate sum for your damages. When considering your case and your settlement amount, your lawyer will look at whether the negligence committed in your case is considered ordinary negligence or gross negligence.

Ordinary Negligence

Ordinary negligence, or simply negligence, occurs when a reasonable person fails to exercise reasonable care. Their failure then causes harm to others. You can think of ordinary negligence as a simple mistake, carelessness, or inattention. The negligent party did not take the precautions they should have to make sure everyone was kept safe.

Examples of Ordinary Negligence

  • In a car accident, a driver fails to stop at a stop sign, use their turn signal, or follows too closely behind the car in front of them
  • On a commercial property such as a retail store, an employee fails to post a "wet floor" sign while mopping or after a spill
  • On a residential property like an apartment complex, a landlord puts off repairing the sidewalk or clearing the snow in the winter
  • On a construction site, a laborer mistakenly uses the wrong material and does not properly secure a board to prevent it from falling

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence, on the other hand, is when a person willfully disregards the safety of others. They act with extreme indifference or reckless disregard for the people around them. This is much more than simply forgetting or not paying attention to proper safety precautions and procedures.

Examples of Gross Negligence

  • A driver speeds far beyond the speed limit in a neighborhood or other pedestrian-heavy area or attempts to drive a vehicle while inebriated
  • A doctor prescribes a medication that the patient is allergic to or that reacts dangerously with their other medications
  • A surgeon operates on the wrong part of the body or leaves foreign material inside the body
  • A company continues selling, manufacturing, or advertising a product they know is dangerous
  • A caregiver leaves a dependant for days without feeding or bathing them

St. Louis Negligence Lawyer | Burger Law

If you believe you have a personal injury case where the responsible party acted with gross negligence or if they deny having acted with negligence at all, get Burger Law on your side. We are ready to fight for you. Begin with a free consultation with a successful personal injury lawyer today by calling us at 314-542-2222 or filling out this form.

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