The idea of negligence is a familiar one for most people when it comes to personal injury cases. It basically means that a person or business entity has disregarded the general standard of care and thereby, breached the standards of duty to provide reasonable care, and this has resulted in an accident. In such a case, the injury is a result of carelessness on the part of certain individuals/businesses. Gross negligence, on the other hand, is a different ball game.
What is Gross Negligence?
Gross negligence is a kind of behavior that shocks the conscience. Not just carelessness, gross negligence involves malice, recklessness, and a willful act/behavior that has caused harm to another person.
For instance, a business may be called negligent if they fail to repair a roof on time, and the damaged roof collapses causing the loss of limb, life and property. In the exact same situation, what if the business owner had had the roof inspected prior to the incident and he/she was told that the roof might collapse at any time and that it was very dangerous to allow people to keep working in the building?
If after getting evidence that the roof poses a danger, the business owner chooses to do nothing about it willingly, and the roof then collapses, the business owner may be charged with gross negligence in a personal injury case. In the second situation, the business owner willfully showed a complete disregard for the standard of due care.
In a personal injury case of gross negligence, the victim stands to get compensatory damage awards as well as punitive damage awards. Punitive damage is awarded in order to specifically punish the wrongdoer so as to set an example for others.
Defending a Gross Negligence Claim
There are a variety of factors that need to be responded to in a case of gross negligence.
- Duty of Care: The defendant will have to prove that they adhered to the standard duty of care, and did not behave unreasonably in the accident situation.
- Breach of Duty of Care: They will also have to prove that they did not breach a duty. Every person/business is trusted with the duty of taking reasonable care to avoid injuring another person or causing property damage.
- Damages: Your lawyer will have to prove that since you took reasonable care in the situation, you are not to be held liable for the damages caused to another person and their belongings.