Gross negligence is a form of extreme carelessness that demonstrates a complete disregard for the safety of others, as if their safety is inconsequential. In the majority of personal injury cases, negligence is the primary claim. Negligence refers to any act of carelessness that results in injury or damage. However, certain cases center around a particularly severe form of negligence called gross negligence. Gross negligence involves a blatant disregard for the safety of others and is characterized by actions and attitudes that would typically shock others due to their lack of concern for human well-being.
Although gross negligence does not imply an intention to cause harm, it suggests that the person acted with such recklessness that it would likely endanger others. The key feature of gross negligence is an apparent attitude of indifference towards the safety of others, as if the potential for harm is inconsequential.
Ordinary Negligence vs. Gross Negligence:
Ordinary negligence occurs when any type of carelessness results in injury. It often arises from a lack of attention or foresight. For instance, if a convenience store owner fails to properly monitor their store and overlooks a spill for several hours, that would be an example of ordinary negligence. Though it may seem like a small error, if someone were to slip and suffer an injury, the store owner would be held responsible.
Gross negligence entails performing an action that nearly anyone would recognize as likely to pose a threat to others. For instance, if the store owner intentionally applied vegetable oil on a step as a practical joke to see which employee would slip on it, that could qualify as gross negligence. Although there is no intention to cause serious harm, the behavior may be perceived as unconcerned and thoughtless about the possibility of causing injury to someone.
Gross negligence can take many forms. For instance, it could be as blatant as a driver careening onto a sidewalk full of children, a doctor prescribing a medication known to raise blood pressure to a patient with hypertension, or someone firing a gun into a crowd after being pickpocketed at a festival. The defining characteristic of gross negligence is that it demonstrates an utter disregard for common sense, which puts others in harm’s way.
When it comes to gross negligence, even seemingly simple actions can lead to catastrophic consequences. For example, driving onto a sidewalk where children are playing, prescribing a medication with known risks to a patient with high blood pressure, or firing a gun in a crowded place can all qualify as grossly negligent behavior. To determine whether the other party in your personal injury case exhibited gross negligence, it’s best to consult an experienced attorney.
What Happens in Texas When Gross Negligence Occurs:
In Texas, if someone acts in a grossly negligent way and it causes an injury to another person, they may be held liable for the damages resulting from that injury. Gross negligence is considered a higher level of negligence than ordinary negligence, and it can result in greater legal consequences for the responsible party. Under Texas law it is defined as an act or omission that involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others, and the individual’s actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved but nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others.
If a person is found to have acted in a grossly negligent way, they may be required to pay compensatory damages to the injured party, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, they may also be required to pay punitive damages, which are meant to punish the responsible party for their reckless behavior and to deter others from acting similarly in the future. If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s grossly negligent behavior, it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Texas who can advise you on your legal options and help you pursue compensation for your damages.