What is Gross Negligence?

Aug 15, 2023

Gross negligence is the failure to use even the smallest amount of caution. When responsible parties fail to exercise even the smallest amount of caution to prevent an accident, harm results. The premeditated actions display a disdain for the repercussions that others might experience. The person knew or ought to have foreseen the hazards of their acts in circumstances of egregious negligence. Due to tort laws, people who have been the victim of gross negligence may sue and seek compensation. A successful lawsuit entails obtaining compensation for losses and getting the claimant back on their feet. An experienced personal injury lawyer could assist in pursuing financial compensation from the negligent party. The gross negligence lawyers at De La Garza Law Group can get compensation for you or a loved one through a gross negligence suit.

How Can You Prove Gross Negligence?

Tort law mandates that everyone exercise reasonable care while taking actions that potentially endanger others. A good example would be to drive carefully to prevent auto accidents or to include safety releases in submarines. A personal injury attorney could also assist in gathering the proof needed to prove a claim of gross negligence.

You must be able to prove that the other person owed you a duty of care and then blatantly breached that duty in order to establish gross negligence. When the responsible party behaved “grossly” recklessly, beyond the standard of care, it is said to have engaged in gross negligence. A victim of an accident must persuade the court that the defendant knew their activities were risky yet chose to proceed nonetheless in order to establish gross negligence.

Liability Waivers and Gross Negligence

Waivers of release of liability only apply to simple negligence. The release of liability waiver is no longer valid if a business causes deliberate or grossly negligent harm. It can be difficult to tell the difference between ordinary and gross negligence. Ordinary negligence typically results from mishaps or carelessness. When something is not done with reasonable care, it is considered gross negligence.

The intricacies of liability are intricate and frequently hinge on a careful examination of the language of the waiver that was signed and the particulars of the incident’s circumstances. These complexities can be challenging to navigate. A release liability waiver only offers a company a certain amount of protection, and depending on the specifics of your case, it might not be applicable to your situation.

Gross Negligence Examples

Gross negligence can be challenging to distinguish from regular negligence and may be more challenging to show. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the U.S. Supreme Court is well remembered for his pithy remark regarding gross negligence: “Even a dog knows the difference between being tripped over and being kicked.”

A nursing home employee who neglects to give a resident food or drink for several days is a good example of gross negligence. An employer who causes a wrongful death and who knowingly does not follow safety procedures and guidelines. Drunk driving and hitting someone in a crosswalk would be another example of gross negligence. If the at-fault driver was intoxicated and moving at a fast speed when they struck the pedestrian, then there may have been gross negligence in the case of the collision. In a worst-case situation, it might be possible to establish gross negligence by demonstrating that someone intentionally slammed another person’s car in a fit of rage and hurt them.

It can be difficult to distinguish when something is ordinary negligence vs. gross negligence. If there is a situation when someone was acting in a way that they know was wrong and caused injury, then gross negligence will typically be in play. 

Gross Negligence vs. Negligence

Gross negligence is the failure to take even the smallest amount of care to prevent posing a disproportionate risk of injury. It denotes disregard for the defendant’s responsibility to use caution to prevent harm. Gross negligence is the complete opposite of what a reasonably cautious person would do in the same situation.

 Gradually speaking, there is a difference between negligence and gross negligence. Gross negligence is a highly serious form of negligence that goes well beyond simply not exercising ordinary caution.

Gross Negligence and Wrongful Death

Wrongful death lawsuits are a specific kind of personal injury claim based on the principles of negligence or gross negligence, but compensation is handled differently when the victim dies rather than is injured in an accident. 

The severity of the effects and the type of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit for negligence vs. gross negligence varied the most. Punitive damages may be sought by a victim or the victim’s family for gross negligence. These damages are intended to penalize the offender and deter future commission of the heinous conduct.

Gross Negligence in Current News

The number one example of gross negligence in current news is OceanGate. For those unaware, OceanGate sent a submarine with five people down to explore the Titanic ruins. The submersible imploded during the descent, killing all five passengers. 

According to court documents, evidence of OceanGate’s conceivable gross negligence appeared long before Titan vanished.

One instance is the assertion made by an OceanGate employee, which was detailed in a court document from 2018, that he was sacked for voicing worries about Titan’s safety. Another is a letter the Marine Technology Society sent to OceanGate’s CEO the same year cautioning him against deceiving the public by asserting that the Titan complied with industry safety requirements.

The passengers of OceanGate did sign a liability waiver, and the company will rely heavily on this signed waiver to avoid liability. However, if it is found that there was gross negligence (like the company knowing that the submersible should not be used or was unsafe), then the liability waiver will no longer apply.

Hiring a Gross Negligence Attorney

Gross negligence is a serious offense that can result in criminal charges being brought against the offender. Your interests as an injured victim are on the civil side since you would bring a private claim against the at-fault party.

If you or a loved one were injured due to the gross negligence of a person or company, you will likely have a valid lawsuit. Contact the personal injury attorneys at De La Garza Law Group to discuss your claim.