The majority of personal injury cases deal with some form of negligence. This can be from vehicle accidents or medical mistakes. There is often a certain level of negligence involved in these types of cases. Sometimes more than carelessness that leads to an injury happens, and when this is the case, it is considered gross negligence. Gross negligence has the potential for punitive damages charges and financial compensation.
The definition of gross negligence varies between states. Regardless of the official legal definition, the term generally means a degree of fault that goes above and beyond ordinary negligence.
Proving gross negligence comes up when an injured person is seeking punitive damages or if an injured person, also known as the plaintiff, has signed a waiver before their injury.
A plaintiff needs to do more than simply claim gross negligence. There is a legal requirement to prove that a defendant’s conduct rose to the level of gross negligence as defined by state law.
The Basics of Negligence
Negligence, in legal terms, is the concept used to determine if a person, business or other entity was careless in connection with an incident and if that carelessness made the liable for the harm and any other resulting injuries.
The personal injury lawyer in Lindsay know that negligence occurs when a person fails to act within reasonable care and as a result of this ends up causing harm to someone else. For example, a driver who wasn’t paying enough attention to the road (such as texting while driving), crosses over lanes without looking and causes an accident.
The Basics of Gross Negligence
As mentioned earlier, the definition of this varies from state to state. It usually involves actions that are so reckless that they might be considered extreme. Ordinary negligence involves a violation of a general duty to act with reasonable care and gross negligence usually has added elements like the following:
• Conduct that is extremely risky and dangerous
• A near complete and obvious disregard for another person’s safety
Connection Between Punitive Damages and Gross Negligence
Damages are usually award to compensate an injured person for the harm they experienced at the actions of another person. Damages are awarded based on the negative impact the accident had on the injured person’s life.
Compensatory damages are those that cover the cost of damages to mobility or health and the cost of medical care. Punitive damages are meant to punish the person who caused the accident for their reckless behavior. Punitive damages are a financial punishment directed at the offender so that they understand the severity of what they did. It is often awarded in cases of gross negligence.
There are cases where the defendant may have signed a waiver to use a facility, for example. If gross negligence can be proven, that waiver holds no legal power. For example, a ski company may get users to sign a waiver promising not to sue the company if a user gets injured on the course. If gross negligence is proven, this waiver holds no legal power.