Understanding the Law: Negligence, Gross Negligence, Willful and Wanton Negligence in Missouri
Negligent by definition means to fail to take proper care of something or someone. But in the context of Missouri and other states’ law, the issue of negligence takes on multiple layers, depending on the actions of the person who was negligent.
Understanding the type of negligence is essential to your personal injury claim or trial. Here’s a quick rundown.
Regular negligence arises when a person acts in a way that a reasonable person would not, and as a consequence, they cause harm to someone. For instance, a negligent act would be for a driver to look at their phone while you are driving, and as a result, an accident is caused. The negligence here was the act of not paying attention to the road; a reasonable driver would keep their eyes on the road at all times.
This type of negligence is the most common in personal injury claims, particularly car accident claims.
Gross negligence describes an act or conduct that is a lot more different than what a reasonable person would do, and that displays clear disregard to others’ wellbeing. For instance, if an individual is driving on the road, well over the speed limit, and the passengers ask them to slow down but the request is ignored, and then there is a car accident, the passengers can sue the driver for gross negligence.
The acts of gross negligence often have tragic results and are commonly present in wrongful death cases. However, it’s extremely difficult to prove gross negligence. For instance, taking the example mentioned above, the passengers would need to prove you were (1) told to slow down and (2) did not because you did not care, which can be very difficult to prove. It’s more likely that the evidence will point to a case of regular negligence.
Willful and Wanton Negligence
Willful and wanton negligence is something also considered reckless conduct, and it falls short of actual intent to harm someone but did not act to avoid harm.
In this case, the at-fault party either intentionally or knowingly disregarded all risk, even though reasonably that risk would most likely result in substantial harm. For example, if your employer asks you to drive to pick up a package and gives you the key to a car he knows has a technical issue, and on the way you get in an accident because of it, you may sue your employer for willful, wanton misconduct.
Accident Caused by Drivers Negligence
If you were the victim of an accident and want to file a personal injury claim, reach out to a St. Louis personal injury lawyer at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. for a Free Consultation. They can provide the best legal advice in your situation, and understand what your best course of action is. Additionally, they can represent your interests in all legal matters.