You may have heard someone refer to another person as being guilty of “gross negligence.” It is important to understand the difference between typical negligence and gross negligence in a personal injury case, as gross negligence often entails the pursuit of additional compensation for the victim. A personal injury attorney can help you determine if your case involves gross negligence and, if so, whether you should pursue punitive or other types of damages.
What Is Gross Negligence?
There is a difference between the legal definition of gross negligence and the commonly understood application of the term. Many people think that gross negligence involves someone who deliberately tries to harm someone else, as when a person deliberately shoots or stabs another person. However, that is not the true definition of the term.
The legal concept of gross negligence means carelessness or lack of precautions that includes a conscious or voluntary disregard of the duty to use reasonable care. In other words, in order to show gross negligence, the victim must show that the person who committed the act that led to the accident or injury should have known and deliberately ignored the need for reasonable safety. This does not mean that the person intended to harm someone else; instead, it means that the person was so outrageously careless that any reasonable person could have anticipated that harm could come to someone else due to the action.
What Is The Effect of Gross Negligence on a Personal Injury Case?
In many states, it is necessary to show gross negligence in order to pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages, as the name implies, are extra monetary sums awarded to the victim to punish the behavior of the defendant. This does not usually happen when the defendant is simply negligent; instead, the victim must show that the defendant was so incredibly negligent that he or she should have known that the behavior could place others in danger.
Those who have suffered any type of personal injury may wish to consult an attorney to determine if there was gross negligence involved in the case and if they may be entitled to additional damages as a result. David & Philpot, P.L. offers free no obligation consultations for victims of negligence. We can help you determine if gross negligence was a factor in your case and represent you in a personal injury claim. Call us today at 800.360.7015.