In Nevada, negligence and gross negligence are two distinct legal concepts that can have significant consequences in civil and criminal cases. Understanding the difference between these two types of negligence is critical for anyone who may face a lawsuit or criminal charges. We at Kajioka & Associates Attorneys at Law would like to discuss the difference between negligence and gross negligence.
Negligence is a legal term that refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. In other words, negligence occurs when someone fails to take the precautions that a reasonable person would take in a similar situation, resulting in harm to another person. For example, if a driver runs a red light and causes an accident, they may be held liable for negligence if it is determined that a reasonable person would have stopped at the light.
Gross negligence, on the other hand, involves a much higher degree of recklessness or carelessness than ordinary negligence. In legal terms, gross negligence occurs when a person acts with a conscious disregard for the safety of others. This means that the person knew or should have known that their actions posed a significant risk of harm, yet they proceeded anyway. For example, if a doctor performs a surgery while under the influence of drugs, they may be held liable for gross negligence if the patient is harmed as a result.
Consequences; Which Negligence is Worse?
The consequences of being found negligent versus grossly negligent can be significant. In civil cases, a finding of negligence may result in the defendant being ordered to pay damages to the plaintiff to compensate them for their losses. However, a finding of gross negligence can result in the defendant being ordered to pay punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their egregious behavior and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Misdemeanor VS Felony
In criminal cases, the difference between negligence and gross negligence can mean the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony charge. In Nevada, gross negligence is often charged as a felony offense, while ordinary negligence is typically not a criminal offense at all. For example, if a person is involved in a car accident that results in serious injury or death, they may be charged with gross negligence if it is determined that they were driving recklessly or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Willful & Wanton Misconduct
It’s also worth noting that Nevada law allows for the concept of “willful and wanton” misconduct, which is even more severe than gross negligence. Willful and wanton misconduct occurs when a person acts with a conscious and intentional disregard for the safety of others. This type of misconduct can result in even more severe criminal and civil penalties.
Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Business Attorneys & More in Greater Las Vegas, Nevada
The difference between negligence and gross negligence in Nevada law is significant. While negligence involves a failure to exercise reasonable care, gross negligence involves a much higher degree of recklessness or carelessness. The consequences of being found grossly negligent can be severe, including punitive damages in civil cases and felony charges in criminal cases. Understanding the difference between these two types of negligence is essential for anyone who may face legal action in Nevada. Whether you are facing negligence and gross negligence in Nevada, call Kajioka & Associates Attorneys at Law and let us help your defense.