Types of Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim

Personal injury laws are based on the concept of negligence. It is a legal term that refers to the failure to act with the standard of care towards another person. Proving negligence in a personal injury case is important as it helps identify the person responsible for the accident. Keep in mind that every personal injury case is different.

Based on the circumstances and facts of a case, different types of negligence apply. In this article, we are going to discuss the types of negligence in personal injury claims.

Types of Negligence

There are several types of negligence that can apply in different circumstances. By working with an experienced lawyer, they will guide you in proving them:

Contributory Negligence

In a personal injury claim, contributory negligence is commonly used as a defense to deny compensation. Contributory negligence rules apply if the victim is found to be partially liable for the accident.

The contributory negligence system doesn’t allow victims to recover compensation if the victim is responsible for the accident, no matter how small their contribution might be.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a defense frequently used to settle personal injury claims outside of court. When the victim is found to be partially liable for their injuries, the settlement can be decreased. Here are the types of comparative negligence:

  • Pure Comparative Negligence: Here, the victim can recover compensation regardless of their degree of fault, even if they are primarily at fault for the collision. For instance, if the injured person is 70% at fault, they can recover 30% compensation.
  • Modified Comparative Negligence: The victim can only recover compensation for the accident as long as they are under 50% at fault.

Combination of Contributory and Comparative Negligence

It is the general type of negligence proven in a personal injury claim. When the victim is discovered to be more than 50 percent liable for the damages incurred in the crash, the compensation amount can be decreased to half of the pre-requisite amount or may be rejected.

Gross Negligence

This is considered the highest level of negligence and indicates intentional disregard or recklessness for the safety of others. It includes conduct that goes beyond ordinary negligence.

Vicarious Negligence

Vicarious negligence refers to the legal rule that holds a person or a company responsible for the actions of others. This type of negligence generally involves the presence of a pet or a minor during the accident.

The employer held responsible for the injuries caused by the employees while performing a job-related duty or the owner of a pet held liable for the injuries caused by their pet are examples of vicarious negligence.

How do I prove negligence in a personal injury claim?

The victim should consider the following four elements to successfully prove negligence:

Duty of Care

The duty of care is the legal obligation of an individual to act responsibly and reasonably to prevent harm to others. Here, the victim should show that the at-fault party owed them a legal duty of care.

Breach of Duty of Care

The defendant failed or did not meet the expectations of the duty of care they owed to the victim. The victim has to prove that the at-fault party owed a duty of care first before proving this.


The damages sustained by the victim were directly caused by the at-fault party’s breach of duty of care. For instance, the motorist’s actions caused the vehicle to swerve and dash.


Last, the victim has to provide evidence of harm or actual damages sustained due to the at-fault party’s actions. It includes medical expenses, loss of earnings, property damage, or loss of quality of life.

Final Thoughts

Negligence can differ based on the case facts and state laws. Different types of negligence can impact the result and damages in a personal injury claim. If you sustain any injuries, you need to consult a personal injury lawyer to prove the negligence of the at-fault party.


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