What Does Gross Negligence Refer to in Oregon?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Apr 08, 2022 in Personal Injury

Injured victims in Oregon are eligible to recover compensation for damages they have accumulated as a result of another party’s negligence. However, in order for a victim to recover their damages, they must first establish the at-fault party, prove that they were negligent, and prove that their negligence directly resulted in their injury.

“Negligence,” in legal terms, is a failure to exercise reasonable care or act as an ordinary person would in a similar situation. In Oregon, negligence is categorized into two classes: ordinary negligence and gross negligence.

What Does Ordinary Negligence Refer to in Oregon?

“Ordinary negligence” typically refers to careless mistakes or inattention. Some examples of ordinary negligence that could cause an accident resulting in an injury or death in Oregon include:

  • A driver runs a stop sign or red light, resulting in a crash
  • A coworker fails to turn off the electricity before work begins, resulting in electrocution
  • An employee forgets to put up a “wet floor” sign after mopping, resulting in a slip and fall
  • A line cook does not follow food safety measures, resulting in foodborne illness
  • A homeowner does not notice their wooden stairs have rotten, resulting in a guest falling through

In cases of ordinary negligence, the at-fault party did not intend to cause harm to the other person. However, that does not mean they are blameless, as their carelessness can still make them legally responsible for the damages they have caused.

What Is Gross Negligence in Regards to an Oregon Personal Injury Claim?

Unlike ordinary negligence, gross negligence is more than a simple mistake or lack of attention. Gross negligence is an action performed with deliberate and malicious disregard for the safety of other people.

As defined by Oregon State Law, gross negligence is:

“…negligence which is materially greater than the mere absence of reasonable care under the circumstances, and which is characterized by conscious indifference to or reckless disregard of the rights of others.”

Some examples of gross negligence that could cause an accident resulting in an injury or death in Oregon include:

  • A person drinks 12 beers in an hour and decides to drive, resulting in an accident
  • A trucking company transports more weight than allowed by law, resulting in a crash
  • A surgeon does not protocol, resulting in a foreign object being left in a patient’s body
  • A driver speeds through an area with heavy foot traffic, resulting in a pedestrian accident
  • A nursing home fails to provide the food and fluids a resident needs, resulting in malnutrition or dehydration

If an Oregon personal injury claim involves gross negligence, the amount of compensation awarded may be increased to include punitive damages. While most compensation awarded in personal injury claims is intended to compensate a victim for their damages, punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and prevent similar acts from occurring in the future.

Contact an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney to Prove Negligence in Your Claim

Both ordinary and gross negligence can lead to severe injuries and even death. However, determining which type of negligence happened can make a significant difference when it comes to the settlement granted to the injured party.

If you suspect that your accident may have involved gross negligence, contact a Rizk Law personal injury lawyer to schedule a free review of your claim. Call (503) 245-5677 or complete our convenient contact form for more information about how we can help support your claim.