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What is Gross Negligence

What is gross negligence? How is it different from other kinds of negligence? How does gross negligence apply to a personal injury claim?

If you believe that you have been the victim of the gross negligence of another party, you really should contact a personal injury attorney. There may be compensation that is rightfully yours.


Negligence is defined as being the quality or state of being negligent. The basic meaning of negligent is failing to take proper or normal care of someone or something.

In regard to the law, negligence is failing to exercise the care toward others that a reasonable or prudent person would exercise in the same circumstances, or it is doing something that a reasonable person would not do. As a result, negligence forms the grounds for most personal injury claims.

The reasonable person

The hypothetical reasonable or prudent person is an objective by which the conduct of others may be judged. From a legal standpoint, the hypothetical reasonable or prudent person is not a typical person or an average person but a composite of the community’s judgment as to how the typical community member should behave in situations that may pose a harm or threat to the public.

With this in mind, what is gross negligence?  The common definition of gross negligence is “the failure to exercise even the slightest amount of care.”

Reckless disregard

From a legal standpoint, gross negligence is “carelessness which is in reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, and is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people’s rights to safety. It is more than simple inadvertence, but it is just shy of being intentionally evil.”

Gross negligence is “an indifference to, and a blatant violation of, a legal duty with respect to the rights of others.” It is a voluntary and conscious disregard for the need to exercise reasonable care. As such, gross negligence is likely to bring about serious harm or injury to persons and/or property.


To put it simply, gross negligence is an extreme form of negligence. It is far more than just being careless. As mentioned above, gross negligence is so extreme and reckless that it comes very close to being regarded as intentional, whereas negligence is seen as being unintentional.

Here are some examples of what would be looked at as gross negligence. These include:

A driver who speeds through a parking lot while several pedestrians are walking.
A doctor who amputates the wrong arm or leg of a person.
A caregiver who does not give an elderly person food or water for several days.
A surgeon who leaves a foreign object like a bandage or medical sponge inside of the body of a person they have just operated on.

A person who is found guilty of gross negligence usually knows, or should have known of the danger involved in their conduct and actions. This usually involves the deliberate disregard for the safety of another person.

Again, if you believe that you have been harmed or injured by the gross negligence of another party, you really should contact a personal injury attorney and discuss your case at no cost or obligation to you.

Article written by James Shugart

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