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What is “Gross Negligence” in Injury Claims?

“Gross negligence” is a category of negligence in personal injury cases that goes beyond the typical definition of reckless behavior. It deals with a different standard of carelessness and can also determine how punitive damages are awarded in some cases. Furthermore, proving gross negligence is to deter people from causing harm again. Allow our personal injury attorneys in San Diego to expand on your understanding of gross negligence.


What’s Gross Negligence?

In the United States, the gross negligence definition is when someone consciously disregards other people’s safety and well-being. When it comes to gross negligence vs. negligence deals with a violation of someone’s duty of care that they owe to other people. However, gross negligence adds an extra degree of recklessness.

Here’s a gross negligence example: A business owner is responsible for maintaining the facility where they sell or distribute products. One day, the roof collapsed, injuring multiple employees and customers. However, only a few weeks prior, an inspector noticed structural issues with the roof and instructed the owner to fix everything.

If the business owner ignored the mandate, they would be liable for the injuries. If they were made aware of the issue and didn’t take any action, the incident could be deemed grossly negligent.

The most significant difference between gross negligence vs. negligence is a person’s behavior pattern. If someone had a momentary lapse of judgment, it’s considered ordinary negligence. However, gross negligence is when someone demonstrates a complete disregard for human safety.


Examples of Gross Negligence: Willful Misconduct

Gross negligence also involves a concept known as “willful misconduct” that deals with people who didn’t intend to cause harm. Drunk drivers often fall into this category because they chose to drive while inebriated, but their intention wasn’t to hurt anyone.

Another example involves medical assistants in nursing homes who have a legal obligation to take care of their patients. However, failure to uphold their responsibilities can have legal ramifications. Patients who don’t receive the care they need and fall ill are victims of willful misconduct from the nursing home.



How Does Gross Negligence Affect Your Case?

Gross negligence is extremely important to your case for different reasons. Proving it will prompt the courts to consider punitive damages for the defendant’s conduct. This sends a message to the defendant that their conduct is unacceptable, and they’ll have to pay a heavy price. Keep in mind that you could also be entitled to additional compensation if someone was grossly negligent in causing your injuries.


Legal Strategy for Gross Negligence

In some cases, the at-fault party’s insurance will refuse to pay you punitive damages. They only want to be responsible for the actual (economic and non-economic) damages you can calculate. However, if the at-fault party’s behavior was egregious, you should still consider seeking extra damages that serve as punishment.


More Examples of Gross Negligence

Many situations can happen where someone’s behavior goes beyond ordinary negligence. Here’s what they include:

  • Driving at unlawful speeds in heavy pedestrian areas
  • Doctors prescribing drugs without checking the other medications that patients are taking
  • Medical providers failing to take proper care of their patients.

Proving gross negligence ultimately depends on the circumstances. However, speaking with a lawyer as soon as the incident occurs will fast-track your personal injury claim.



Pursuing a Negligence Claim

Here at HHJ Trial Attorneys in San Diego, we assist many Californians by overseeing their personal injury claims. Ultimately, our job is to hold the at-fault party accountable and help you recover compensation for injuries. Contact our offices today, and we can begin the process of reviewing your case.


Testimonial from Crystal, Car Accident Victim in San Diego
We had the best experience with HHJ Attorneys; specifically Adam Hepburn. He was great at communicating and answering any questions we had from the beginning and all the way to the day of court where he went above and beyond to make sure we knew exactly how to proceed after. I would highly recommend this law firm, they really make you feel like you are not just another client and are very personable, knowledgeable and responsive.


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