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Ordinary vs. Gross Negligence in DC Personal Injury Cases

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Date21 Jan 2021
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Ordinary vs. Gross Negligence Lawyer Washington DC

In the legal world, negligence is an important concept. To be negligent in the eyes of the law means that you have breached your legal duty, and it has harmed another. 

In this post, we’ll be going over two commonly misunderstood types of negligence: ordinary, and gross.

Ordinary negligence is a careless mistake. It’s not paying attention. For example, let’s say a cook doesn’t cook a piece of meat all the way through, and the customer becomes sick from it. The cook did not mean to cause harm to the other person. However, under the eyes of the law, he can still be held legally responsible. That’s ordinary negligence.

Gross negligence, sometimes known as culpable negligence, is much more severe. It is the reckless disregard for the safety of others. It is something that will likely cause serious harm, and that should reasonably have been foreseen. One of the more famous gross negligence cases occurred in Florida. It was a medical malpractice case – Allan Navarro v. Michael P. Austin. Mr. Navarro wentOrdinary vs. Gross Negligence Lawyer Washington DC to the emergency room complaining of nausea, headaches, and dizziness. The doctors were told that the family had a history of strokes. He was diagnosed with sinusitis and prescribed painkillers. The next day, he returned to the hospital with more severe symptoms, and spent the following three months in a coma. Mr. Navarro had suffered a stroke, and is now permanently disabled. The settlement was for $217 million.

There are four items to check off to establish negligence. They are (1) duty (2) breach (3) causation and (4) harm. “Duty to care” is a term that, according to Alllaw.com, refers to the responsibility that one person has to avoid causing harm to another. A doctor has a duty to care – safely and thoroughly – for his or her patient. In the case above, the doctor had a duty to accurately prescribe medicine. By accidentally prescribing a medicine that you are allergic to, there was a breach of duty. The harm was the severe allergic reaction. Now, to prove negligence, it has to be shown that the medicine was what caused the severe allergic reaction. 

Damages (monetary compensation collected from the other party) in a case can vary. They depend on a variety of factors, including the nature of the injury, property damage, and more.

If you have suffered an injury that you believe was the result of negligence, contact the experienced attorneys at Cohen & Cohen for a free case evaluation!

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