Many people do not fully grasp the concept of negligence. So, they would be even more confused if they found out that there are in fact four types of negligence. The types of negligence are identified by their varying degrees and how situational circumstances contributed to the negligent action. Lost yet?
For instance, someone owning and renting out a home would have a different duty of care, or obligation, to their tenant than they would to, say, a burglar breaking into the house. The owner of the home owes something to their tenant. Whereas, the owner of the home owes nothing to a criminal burglar.
Because of this level of nuance, understanding which of the four types of negligence a personal injury case could involve requires clear explanations. To help solidify the concepts, consider these four stories about the four types of negligence:
Slight negligence refers to an instance where someone had an expectation to exercise great care as opposed to the normal level of care expected by a typical competent person.
In this story, Sam is a mechanic who repaired the brakes on a customer's rare vintage Ferrari. The brakes ended up failing, severely injuring the customer in a related crash. Normally, the fact that the Ferrari had a rare, complex braking system could determine that Sam's duty of care did not extend to knowing every detail of the convoluted system. However, Sam happens to be an expert in rare vintage Ferraris. The plaintiff can allege that Sam had the knowledge and familiarity to have taken exceptional care when repairing the faulty system, making him slightly negligent.
Ordinary negligence, almost always referred to as just “negligence,” is defined as the failure to exercise a degree of care that a normal, competent person would.
Arnold is a bank teller who regularly works out at a local gym. One day, Arnold haphazardly sets some 45-pound dumbbell weights on a gym rack. When someone else goes to use the weights, Arnold's loosely set weights fall and crush the person's foot. The person sues Arnold for being negligent. Even though Arnold does not work at the gym, he could be said to have had a reasonable duty of care to replace the weights properly on the rack.
Gross negligence indicates that a competent person performs an action that they know could likely result in the injury of someone else.
Grace works at a mountain biking summer camp for fifth graders. When the kids seem bored one day, she suggests they ride their bikes holding broom sticks out like a medieval joust. When the activity results in one child receiving several cracked ribs and a collapsed lung, the child's parents sue Grace since she could have understood that the activity was likely to end in injury.
Culpable negligence indicates reckless and flagrant disregard of human life. Some compare the tests of culpable negligence to the burden of proof required for criminal manslaughter convictions.
Kurt owns a construction company with a history of employee injuries. Employees have pointed out that Kurt's working conditions could be dangerous, such as how he does not supply employees with the OSHA-mandated fall safety harness systems. He also forces employees into performing dangerous tasks like painting second story windows using two ladders poorly lashed together. Worst of all, Kurt makes ridiculous promises to clients, often requiring his workers to work long hours and sometimes into the night to meet deadlines.
Unsurprisingly, a worker using hazardous equipment falls 24 feet to his death one night. Kurt is found culpably negligent because his actions communicate a disregard for employee safety and a malicious tendency to focus only on his own needs.
Know Which Types of Negligence You Are Up Against
Florida injury attorneys like the ones in Koberlein Law Offices can assess the facts of your case in order to determine which types of negligence your lawsuit should allege. Sometimes, several strategies are pursued at the same time to ensure that the plaintiff has every option they need to get the maximum compensation for their damages and losses.
If you think you have been the victim of negligence, we suggest you call our Gainesville, Florida or Lake City, Florida law offices today. The sooner you can assemble the facts of your case, the stronger your chances are of attaining justice according to the exact type of negligence you fell victim to. Contact us now.