Examples of Gross Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on July 27, 2020  in Personal Injury News. Updated on July 11, 2023

drunk-driver-brown-bottleUnderstanding gross negligence is critical if you or a loved one were seriously injured in an accident. Victims of gross negligence often obtain more compensation compared to victims of ordinary negligence. Depending on the details of your claim, it can be difficult to prove gross negligence without the help of an experienced attorney.

If you need a licensed attorney with a proven track record, contact the attorneys at Lynch Law Firm, PC for a free consultation. Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys have decades of experience protecting the rights of accident victims throughout New Jersey. Our focus is to hold negligent parties liable for your damages. We do not charge our clients unless we recover compensation on their behalf.

What is Gross Negligence?

The term gross negligence is defined as an act or failure to act which causes an unreasonable risk of harm to another party because the at-fault party failed to uphold his or her duty of care.

Duty of care is a legal obligation to take reasonable action to prevent harm to others. For example, all drivers in the U.S. are legally obligated to uphold their duty of care by obeying traffic laws to keep others safe from harm.

Gross negligence is an amplification of ordinary negligence which may result in much more severe penalties for the at-fault party and significantly higher compensation amounts for the injured victim.

Differences Between Negligence and Gross Negligence

The main difference between ordinary negligence and gross negligence is that ordinary negligence is usually the result of carelessness and gross negligence usually includes willful misconduct and an intent to harm others.

An example of ordinary negligence could be a skiing instructor failing to check for cracks in the ski poles before giving them to a student for use in a class, which then results in an injury to the student who is then immediately rushed to the hospital by the instructor.

Gross negligence comes into play if the skiing instructor continues teaching the class after the injury is sustained and waits until class is over to help the student seek medical attention.

Gross negligence is seen as a total disregard to exercise due care and results in personal injury or property damage. Parties who are found to be guilty of gross negligence could be liable for punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are usually only available in cases involving gross negligence. Although rare, these damages are intended to further punish the at-fault party for their egregious behavior and deter them and others from ever repeating the act in the future.

For example, a drunk driver who seriously injured or killed someone in an accident may be liable for punitive damages. Although the victim or the victim’s family could receive additional compensation, it is up to the injured party to request punitive damages.

Some states may have a damages cap or limit to the amount of punitive damages you may receive. New Jersey law says you can obtain up to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

Seek Advice from a Legal Professional with Experience

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, it is important to seek advice from a legal professional who has experience dealing with cases like yours. Proving cases involving gross negligence can be challenging without the help of knowledgeable attorney.

If you need quality legal advice, contact the attorneys at Lynch Law Firm, PC to discuss your situation in a no-cost case review. Our firm has obtained over $300 million in compensation on behalf of our clients throughout the New Jersey area.* We work on contingency, which means you pay us nothing up front and we only bill you if we win your case.

Our attorneys are standing by. Call Lynch Law Firm, PC today at (800) 518-0508 .

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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