Difference Between Negligence and Gross Negligence

As law-abiding citizens, it is our responsibility towards our actions as they could lead to consequences. We are responsible for the outcome in any situation. Not paying attention to details, being negligent can cause harm to others. Trying to neglect the other’s safety is done on purpose, and this gross negligence can attract penalties and compensation.

Negligence vs Gross Negligence

The main difference between negligence and gross negligence is that negligence is the failure of taking care in an ordinary circumstance resulting in careless mistake, inattention, or may cause injury. Gross negligence is deliberate or reckless behavior towards self or others. It will cause harm to self or others. The nature of this act is purposeful intention.

Negligence vs Gross Negligence

Any person failing to take reasonable precautions could be negligent. This action may cause harm. The person involved in the incident did not intend to cause any injury. But the careless action resulted in the accident. The caution “wet floor” is not placed after mopping a spill is an example of negligence.

Gross negligence is reckless behavior with no regard to the safety of others. It is considered a purposeful act with no respect to health and safety. As this is a willful act, it will cause severe damage or injury to the parties involved. The driver is speeding in a pedestrian area.

Comparison Table Between Negligence and Gross Negligence

Parameters of ComparisonNegligenceGross Negligence
MeaningNegligence is a careless mistake.Gross Negligence is an intentional mistake.
IntentionIn negligence, there is no intention to harm the plaintiff.In Gross negligence, there is an intention to harm the plaintiff.
Legal ImplicationThe damages caused must be compensated.The damages must be paid. There could be additional penalties or jail terms.
GravityThe damages caused will not be life-threatening.It could cause serious damage to life or property.
ExampleA dog bite, when the harness is loose.Builder using faulty materials for construction.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is failing to take reasonable care of self and the surroundings. This action causes harm, and the action will be considered negligent. This lapse was unintentional, and there is legally binding for the person responsible for the incident. 

A few cases of negligence:

  • A driver jumps a traffic signal in a hurry to reach the destination.
  • A property owner fails to remove the building material from the premises causing injury to a person.

To prove the negligence of someone’s else mistake, you need to include the following elements:

  • Duty-The person overlooks their legal duty to protect the injured party from the distress caused by the circumstance.
  • Breach-There is a legal breach by the defendant due to the actions.
  • Causation-The action or inaction of the defendant has caused damage to the plaintiff.
  • Damages-The action of the defendant has caused harm to the complainant.

Even if the intention to cause injury was not the intention, it did cause damage to the party. Not paying attention to minor details will hold the person responsible for the damage accident and liable for damages.

A lawsuit helps the injured to claim compensation for the injuries caused. The case can claim medical bills, lost wages, property damages. 

The plaintiff can claim mental anguish and suffering. Proving negligence is the essential part of claiming damages. If the above four elements are present in any situation, the injured party can claim to be hurt by ordinary negligence and demand the necessary compensation.

What is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence in the legal concept means significant or gross carelessness and a punishable offense. Gross negligence involves reckless disregard or indifference to the other person, and it is not a simple act of inattention or failure. It is a deliberate act that causes significant damage to other people.   

A few examples of gross negligence is as follows:

  • To prescribe medication despite being listed as an allergy.
  • To speed on pedestrian traffic.
  • To run a faulty lift without safety.

This deliberate negligence causes severe injury or damages. A lawsuit can claim damages but even punish the guilty. During some circumstances, the intention may be harmless, but the damage caused could lead to gross negligence. In this instance, the example could be drunk driving or a person trying to glance at the mobile.

Speaking to the lawyer to report an accident case must be initiated immediately. The lawyers can review the details of the case and ascertain if the accident was a result of gross negligence. Gathering evidence is crucial, and taking the help of experts strengthens the case against the defendant. 

The lawyer can handle the insurance company for claims. Filing the claim within the appropriate time frame is crucial in claiming the loss. A personal injury claim ensures you get the damages to cover the medical bills or other damages caused during the accident. The lawyer must ensure reasonable punishment for the negligence caused.

Gross negligence is reckless and willful misconduct causing injury. In gross negligence, the action becomes intentional. It must be proven voluntarily disregarded towards the plaintiff’s care and caused the foreseeable grave offense.

Main Differences between Negligence and Gross Negligence

  1. An unintentional mistake is a negligence. An intentional fault is a gross negligence.
  2. The unintentional error causes a mishap to the plaintiff in negligence. The intentional error causes an accident to the plaintiff in gross negligence.
  3. In negligence, the unintentional mistake does impose legal responsibility. In gross negligence, since the blunder was, intentional the legal action is bound.
  4. In negligence, the dependent is responsible for compensation to be paid. In gross negligence, the dependence is accountable for payoff and even penalty.
  5. A ski instruction failing to check the equipment causing the accident is negligence. Forcing the injured to wait without immediate medical attention is gross negligence.


Being negligence means a careless mistake or an unintentional overlooking resulting in an injury. In gross negligence is deliberate disregard towards others, causing a safety hazard.

A Supreme Court judge pointed out the extent of negligence versus gross negligence by saying, “Even a dog knows the difference between being tripped and being kicked” For a person to be found guilty of gross negligence, there must be intentional disregard.

Every situation is not as plain as black and white. To determine an injury or any other grave damage is negligence or gross negligence can be tricky to prove. All of us need to understand that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Our safety and others’ safety must be a top priority for all of us.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/825432
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/amlr62&section=35
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