What does Gross Negligence mean?
Gross negligence is "an act or omission of an individual which was done maliciously, wantonly, oppressively, or in a completely reckless or callous manner, indifferent to the rights of others and safety of others." Gross negligence constitutes a conscious disregard for the safety of others.
An example of gross negligence occurs if a building owner, who understand the fire code but wantonly disregards it, decides not to provide fire extinguishers, although the fire code requires it. If someone is injured due to the gross negligence of the building owner the injured party could file a personal injury claim. Although the damages were unintended they were caused by a willful disregard for the safety of others.
If you an injury case and the defendant is found to be grossly negligent it may be possible to receive damages which are above the compensatory damages such as compensation for lost wages and medical costs. Punitive damages may be required to be paid by the court to punish the defendant and insure that others avoid similar actions. Punitive damages can often be very high (several times higher than compensatory damages), and for some cases they may be millions of dollars.