What Is Gross Negligence?
Posted in Personal Injury on December 27, 2021
Negligence is a legal term that refers to a person’s failure to exercise appropriate care while performing a task. If you are injured by someone who fails to uphold his or her duty of care, you can file a lawsuit against him or her and recover compensatory damages for your losses. There are two standards of negligence in Missouri injury claims: ordinary and gross negligence.
How to Prove Ordinary Negligence in a Missouri Injury Claim
Through a Missouri personal injury lawsuit, you can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and many other damages related to the accident. To recover compensation in your claim, you will need to prove the at-fault party’s negligence.
In most cases, you and your lawyer will need to gather evidence to establish the at-fault party’s ordinary negligence. Ordinary negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable care, leading to accidents or injuries.
To prove ordinary negligence, you will need to prove the following four elements.
- Duty of Care: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. For example, motor vehicle drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws and drive their vehicles safely.
- Breach of Duty: The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act. For example, drivers who run red lights or drive over the speed limit violate their duties of care.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your accident and your resulting injuries.
- Damages: You sustained damages in the accident that you can claim in your lawsuit.
Ordinary Negligence versus Gross Negligence
Ordinary negligence refers to an at-fault party’s breach of duty of care, which results in injury to another person. It is carried out by a reasonable person who typically commits a careless mistake. Gross negligence, on the other hand, involves much more serious and reckless acts.
Like ordinary negligence, gross negligence also involves a breach of duty and injury to another person. However, a person who commits gross negligence should reasonably know that his or her actions would cause harm to other people but commits the act anyway.
A person who is grossly negligent can be extremely careless or act with complete disregard for the safety of others. He or she may be wanton and reckless or want to harm another person intentionally. In some cases, gross negligence involves fraud or maliciousness.
Examples of gross negligence include the following.
- A truck driver who operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- A doctor who prescribes a medication to a patient, despite the patient’s medical records detailing an allergy to the medication
- A driver who speeds in a school zone, striking children who are exiting a school bus
How Gross Negligence Impacts a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In most personal injury cases, you can recover compensation for the economic or non-economic losses that you sustained. If you are the victim of gross negligence, you may be eligible for a third category of damages known as punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to reimburse your losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party.
If you believe that gross negligence is involved in your claim, it is critical to speak with a Kansas City personal injury lawyer. An attorney can evaluate your case and help you take your first steps toward optimal compensation. As soon as possible following your accident, contact a lawyer to discuss your case.