What is Gross Negligence in Car Accidents?

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle November 09 2021 8:00 am

What is Gross Negligence in Car Accidents?

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle November 09 2021 8:00 am
What is Gross Negligence in Car Accidents?

Negligence is a concept in tort law, it is further divided into ordinary negligence and gross negligence or wanton conduct, which are unique terms with different meanings. Many people do not understand how ordinary negligence differs from gross negligence or how it might apply. If you suffered injuries and want to know about your rights. Contact Pyle Law directly to learn more about how we can help.

Ordinary Negligence

Ordinary negligence is defined as the failure to exercise the level of care necessary in a specific time and place. The standard of care for ordinary negligence is what a reasonably prudent person would do under certain circumstances. Negligence occurs when a party causes an injury by committing a mistake or neglecting to act as a reasonable person.

Ordinary negligence typically involves making basic mistakes that lead to another person’s injury. The action causing the injury is deemed to be negligent.

The following are examples of ordinary negligence:

  • A landlord or landowner not replacing rotting wood on a porch used by guests
  • A store manager failed to place a wet floor sign notifying passersby that the floor has recently been mopped
  • A driver of a motor vehicle being momentarily distracted and causing a car accident

These parties never intended to cause an automobile accident or another injury-causing event. The party simply failed to adhere to the standard of care and did not behave as a reasonably prudent person. Intent is irrelevant because a party may be liable even though the negligent party didn’t mean to cause an injury.

The legal process enables injured parties to recover financial compensation from negligent parties to pay medical bills and other costs. Injured parties may also seek compensation for general damages, which usually consist of emotional trauma.

Gross Negligence/Wanton Conduct

Gross negligence or wanton conduct is more egregious than ordinary negligence. A person commits gross negligence when he or she demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety of other people. Gross negligence/wanton conduct is a more substantial deviation from the applicable standard of care.

Some examples of gross negligence/wanton conduct include the following:

  • Nursing staff failing to offer food and water to nursing home residents for days or weeks
  • A driver purposely speeding through a congested area where many pedestrians cross an intersection
  • A person drives while drunk after multiple DUI offenses and without a valid driver’s license

A court may award an injured party a higher amount of financial compensation. This sometimes happens when the negligent party acted with reckless disregard for the injured party’s safety. In some cases, punitive damages might be available.

Contact a Kansas Car Accident Attorney for Help Today

If you suffered personal injuries due to the negligence of another party, contact Pyle Law in Kansas today. We can offer you the legal representation and zealous advocacy that you deserve, so please schedule a free consultation during which we can discuss the facts of your case.



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Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.