Legal terms are often thrown around without people knowing exactly what they mean. One of those terms is ‘negligence.’ There are three basic types of negligence that can lead to catastrophic injuries- active, passive and reckless.



Active negligence might be the easiest to understand. It’s doing an act that leads to someone being catastrophically injured. If someone passes a school bus that is stopped with its red lights on and runs over a child, this is an act of tragic, active negligence. The person knew what the law was and passed the bus anyway.


But it doesn’t always have to be breaking a law. For instance, a pharmacy might give out the wrong mix of drugs for a prescription that ends up killing or injuring a patient. Well, there’s no law that says the pharmacist has to double-check his or her work, but it’s an industry standard. By breaking that industry standard, the pharmacist committed active negligence.



Passive negligence is not doing something that you know should do and that lack of action leads to a catastrophic injury. Let’s say you’re driving on a road that has a thirty-mile an hour speed limit. Well, what if it’s a blinding blizzard? You can’t be going that speed on a snow-covered road. If you end up crashing into someone, you committed passive negligence because you didn’t slow down.


At the Segal Law Firm, we see bosses, foremen, and superintendents commit passive negligence by recognizing an unsafe condition on the job site and choosing not to do anything about it. They turn their head, ignore it, and someone gets hurt because of it.


Reckless and Willful

Reckless and willful negligence is an intentional type that can lead to extra damages called punitive or exemplary. Maybe a guy is driving down the road, one arm around his girlfriend, another smoking a cigarette, and he’s also messing with the radio. Well, if he turns his head to give his girl a smooch and runs over someone, that’s willful, wanton, and reckless conduct, and could call for extra damages on the side of the victim.


If you don’t know what type of negligence caused your catastrophic injury, don’t try to guess. Give me a call. I talk to people every day. Sometimes it turns out that there isn’t any negligence at all in their case. And that’s okay. At least the call was free and they found out for sure. Call me toll free at 855-344-9100.