Gross Negligence Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Gross Negligence, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Gross Negligence?

(n) Gross Negligence is the state of doing an activity where in the safety and security of other connected persons and property are knowingly disregarded. Gross negligence is a way of violating others rights. An oversight cannot be a gross negligence.

History and Meaning of Gross Negligence

Gross Negligence is a legal term that goes back many centuries in English law. It refers to a level of negligence that is so egregious that it amounts to a conscious disregard for the safety, rights or interests of others. It generally refers to conduct that goes beyond mere carelessness or ordinary negligence. Gross negligence can involve an intentional act or omission or a failure to take reasonable steps to avoid harm.

Courts often use gross negligence as a standard to determine liability in both civil and criminal cases. In civil cases, it is used to determine if a defendant is liable for damages caused by their actions. In criminal cases, it is used to determine if a defendant acted with a culpable state of mind that warrants punishment.

Examples of Gross Negligence

  1. A driver who knowingly speeds through a school zone and hits a child
  2. A landlord who ignores reports of a gas leak and fails to take action, causing an explosion
  3. A doctor who performs surgery while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  4. A company that knowingly sells a defective product that causes harm to consumers
  5. An employer who fails to provide necessary training or safety equipment, resulting in a workplace injury

Legal Terms Similar to Gross Negligence

  1. Negligence - a failure to exercise reasonable care that results in harm to others.
  2. Recklessness - conduct that involves conscious disregard of a known or obvious risk.
  3. Intentional Tort - a legal action that results from a wrongful act committed with the intent to cause harm.
  4. Strict Liability - liability imposed regardless of fault; a defendant is held responsible for harm caused by their conduct, even if they did not intend to cause harm.
  5. Criminal Negligence - a disregard for the risk of potential harm that is so great it amounts to a crime.