The concept of personal injury law rests on the concept of negligence or the inability of one party to act with reasonable care in a given situation and under certain circumstances. For example, drivers have a duty of care and have to abide traffic laws, doctors or medical staff have to provide care to their patients and not harm them, employers have to provide a save work environment for their employees and so on. There are many different types and depending on the law, negligence comes into play in a civil claim or personal injury case. So let’s take a look some of the different types of negligence.
You can picture comparative negligence as a partial defense, when the plaintiff takes partial responsibility for the personal injury that he/she sustained. A good example of this would be a pedestrian accident where a jaywalking pedestrian walked from between parked cars and a speeding driver hit him/her. The speeding drive is more at fault because he didn’t abide the traffic regulations (he was speeding) and he hit a pedestrian. But the pedestrian is also partially negligent because he jaywalked.
Even though the jaywalking pedestrian is partially to blame, he/she still has legal ground to pursue legal action against the speeding driver. He will, however, lose a portion of the settlement that is equal to his comparative negligence.
Contributory negligence isn’t that common, although some U.S. states still follow this status. Even though Arizona is not one of them (Alabama. Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.) contributory negligence provides very little protection to the plaintiff for his/her own personal injuries. This practically means that a plaintiff cannot seek coverage for his/her injuries if he/she is to be blame (not matter how little) for them e.g., his/her actions caused them.
In a personal injury lawsuit, if the defendant’s negligence is way out of the scope of typical negligence, he could be considered as grossly negligent. A good example is a driver that runs a red light because he was distracted while texting (or calling) on his phone. Another example would be a drunk driver with serious previous DUIs. He clearly has no regard for safety of others, so he is considered to be grossly negligent. Quite often, this can become criminal negligence, which means that the defendant is not only liable for the injuries of the victim, but he could also face criminal charges from the state.
Sometime, the actions of the defendant reflect upon another party, for example because of employment or other responsibility of the defendant and his/her actions. In cases like this, the liability falls onto the defendant’s employer, supervisor or caretaker. A good example of this type of liability is when a dog bite someone. Even though technically speaking, the dog is “at fault” but the liability is transferred to the dog’s owner. Similar to this, if your child injures someone at school, the at fault person is the school employee, but the real at fault party would be the school e.g., the employer.
We hope that this breakdown and explanation of different types of negligence is helpful. If you or your loved one suffered injuries due to the actions (or lack of) someone else, and you’re not entirely sure what type of negligence is it, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers to learn more about your legal options.