What is a Claim of Gross Negligence?

Friday, October 14, 2016

What is a Claim of Gross Negligence?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

Injury Attorneys Serving Victims of Gross Negligence in the Chicago Area

Gross negligence is a commonly misunderstood (and overused) term in personal injury. In a civil case, the term “gross negligence” directly refers to the defendant’s conduct. More so, it refers to reckless, outrageous behavior – not your average form of negligence.

You may be familiar with the concept of negligence. This refers to the disregard of ordinary standards of care and the result is a serious injury. When a person is negligent, they are not intentionally harming someone or blatantly disregarding the safety of others. Instead, it was an accident. Unfortunately, they were just negligent and caused the accident.

How Gross Negligence Differs

Gross negligence is entirely different. It was not an accident. Instead, this amplification of negligence is beyond carelessness. A person may exhibit behavior or unreasonable negligence to injure someone.

What About Waivers?

One reason why gross negligence is used is because an injured party may have signed a document stating that they would waive their rights in the event of negligence. For example, if a person is taking sky-diving lessons and signs a waiver stating that he or she would not sue the company if injured during the lessons. Most states do not enforce these waivers; therefore, you do not have to file a claim for gross negligence. Instead, if negligence was involved, you can still file a claim and the courts will most likely ignore the waiver – even more so if gross negligence was involved.

The Defenses to Gross Negligence

There are defenses that the insurer or defendant could use to thwart your claims of gross negligence. It is important to realize that, if you do make a claim for gross negligence, you will find that the defense will work harder to disprove your claim. This is because gross negligence claims often qualify for punitive damages – which is an additional monetary award outside of the regular compensatory damages.

Some defenses that may be used include:

  • Duty of Care – The defense may show that there was no duty of care owed to the plaintiff; therefore, the defendant is not liable for the injuries.
  • Breach of Duty – If the defense can successfully establish that there was no duty of care, then they can show that there wasn’t a breach of duty. This means that they must show that they didn’t have a reason to exercise reasonable care or avoid injury.
  • Causation – Another defense is the lack of causation. This is where the defense will show they didn’t breach their duty; therefore, negligent actions could not have caused the injuries.
  • Damages – The defense will then argue that there is no reason to hold them accountable for damages, because they did not owe a duty.

As you can see, they will attack the four main elements of your own personal injury claim. If successful, you could lose the opportunity for not only punitive damages, but the compensatory damages that you need to cover your financial losses.

Speak with an Attorney Regarding Your Gross Negligence Case

If you were injured and you feel that the responsible party acted in gross negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Malman Law today to explore your options by calling our offices to schedule a consultation or requesting more information online.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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