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