One of the most common theories used in proving a personal injury claim is negligence. The concept of negligence proves that an individual was careless in their actions, and as a result of these careless actions, they cause another person’s injuries or damages. However, another concept that is used is gross negligence. This article will discuss personal injury claims of gross negligence.
According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute [Gross Negligence | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] gross negligence is defined as “a lack of care that demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, which is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people’s rights to safety. It is more than simple inadvertence, and can affect the number of damages.” As noted by the definition above gross negligence amplifies the behavior of an individual from carelessness to include recklessness, unreasonableness, and/or willful misconduct. To demonstrate the differences in negligence and gross negligence note the two examples below:
Negligence - Angela is a rollerblading instructor who teaches a class. Angela fails to check the pair of rollerblades that she gives her student. Once the student begins to rollerblade, one of the wheels on the rollerblades comes off and the student falls and suffers an ankle injury. Angela stops the class immediately and rushes the student to the nearest emergency room for treatment.
Gross negligence - the same facts as above apply except that Angela chooses not to stop the class and forces her injured student to wait until she has finished the class so as to seek medical assistance. That period of waiting aggravates the ankle injury
As shown from the two examples above, gross negligence is totally disregarding one’s obligation to exercise due care and that leads to injury. If a plaintiff is able to prove gross negligence it greatly increases the damages to be paid by the defendant. As such, it is important to seek legal advice and representation from personal injury attorneys and law firms in Wasilla Ak.
An injured person may claim gross negligence in any personal injury claim where an injury resulted, and they believe that the defendant acted unreasonably. This includes personal injury claims relating to car accidents, medical negligence, legal malpractice, and slip and fall cases.
Some gross negligence claim defenses that can be used by the defendant are:
- Duty of care - the defendant needs to prove that they behaved reasonably under the circumstances. By saying reasonably it means that the defendant acted as any person with an ordinary degree of reason and care would have acted in a similar situation.
- Breach of duty of care - the defendant would then need to prove that they did not breach their duty. They will need to show that they exercised a reasonable level of care.
- Causation - it is necessary to prove that there was no breach in the duty of care and, therefore, no negligent actions could have caused the damages or harm.
- Damages - a gross negligence defense would be to try to show that as the defendant you are not responsible for the damages as you exercised a reasonable duty of care