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Definition of Willful Negligence

Willful negligence is an unreasonable action which is done with total disregard for the risk involved and the likely harm. Willful negligence is synonymous with gross negligence and involves actions performed with a "conscious" indifference to the consequences. Willful negligence differs from negligence and can be considered an intentional violation of the law which can lead to a criminal charges (intentional tort) rather than civil charge charges (unintentional tort).

For example, if someone accidentally hits another person on a bicycle this could be considered negligence. If the driver intentionally runs them over, however, this could be considered willful negligence.

If a plaintiff files a personal injury claim and can prove the defendant's negligence led to their injuries they may be able to recover medical compensation, lost wage compensation and pain and suffering. If the plaintiff can prove the defendant's actions were willfully negligent, however, in some cases they also may be able to recover punitive damages which are used to punish the perpetrator.

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