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Gross negligence is an extreme disregard for the safety of others that goes beyond simple carelessness. It is deliberate, wanton, or malicious conduct carried out with reckless indifference to the safety of others’ health and well-being. A nursing home employee who neglects to feed or water a patient for several days, or a drunken driver in some circumstances, are examples of gross negligence.
If you can prove gross negligence in your personal injury claim, you may be compensated more for your injuries and even obtain punitive damages, which are intended to punish the responsible party. Contact Texas Personal Injury Lawyers if you or a loved one has been a victim of gross negligence.
What Constitutes Gross Negligence Under Texas Law?
Under a gross negligence theory, the first obstacle an injured person must overcome is to show two further components in addition to the four necessary conditions of ordinary carelessness.
- The plaintiff must first show that, from the defendant’s perspective, the act he took was a highly dangerous one given the risk and magnitude of harm it might cause to others. The Objective Test is often referred to as this.
- The second element you must demonstrate is that the defendant was aware of the hazard and proceeded anyhow in a deliberate disregard for others’ rights and safety or well-being. The Subjective Test is what it’s called.
This implies that a jury must be convinced that the defendant was aware of the risk he posed and chose to do it anyway. To establish gross negligence, the plaintiff does not have to show that the defendant intended to cause such damage, only that he was aware it was a possibility and proceeded anyhow.
Here are a few simple examples of gross negligence:
- A business owner discards hazardous waste in a field, aware that the community’s drinking water source is close by.
- Trucking company managers are fully aware that their trucks’ brakes are all inoperable. They cannot afford to repair them, so they send them out onto crowded streets regardless.
- A six-year-old is given a gun to School and wounds numerous classmates with it.
You’ll notice that these behaviors aren’t just thoughtless or stupid, but actively disregard great risk to others.
The higher burden of proof in a gross negligence action is the second barrier a plaintiff must overcome. The standard evidentiary standards apply in ordinary negligence claims, which state that to win, the claimant must successfully defend his or her claims based on “preponderance of the evidence.” In a legal case, the plaintiff makes some assertions and the defendant responds that he is incorrect. In the end, juries must decide who they believe is more compelling based on the evidence presented. It’s all about who they believe is more likely in the right with the preponderance of the evidence standard. It’s a 51-49 decision mathematically speaking. If one side appears to be only slightly better than the other, that will suffice to decide the case.
However, owing to the serious financial consequences of gross negligence, the plaintiff must present “clear and convincing proof” that the defendant was grossly negligent.
The Texas Standard is defined as evidence that leads a jury or court to have “a firm belief or conviction in the truth of the allegations sought to be proved.” Furthermore, plaintiffs who seek to establish that the defendant was grossly negligent must win a jury verdict for both liability and the amount of compensation to be paid.
Juries are responsible for determining the facts of a case, but they must also consider at least some of the following factors, many of which appear to be quite similar:
- The nature of the wrong done
- The conduct’s personality, such as whether it was based on dishonesty or an unprovoked physical assault
- The degree of responsibility, as in whether the claimant had anything to do with the event
- The plaintiffs and defendants in the case, as well as whether the defendant showed regret, are all factors to consider.
- The conduct is thought to be unjust by the general public’s sense of fundamental justice.
- The defendant’s net worth
Why Is It Important To Bring A Gross Negligence Claim In Texas?
A typical negligence claim aims to restore the victim’s losses. The limit on the victim’s compensation is decided if the jury finds that she lost $100,000 in lost income, emotional pain and medical expenses. When a jury finds gross negligence, it can award the claimant exemplary damages, sometimes known as punitive damages. These awards are intended to punish the defendant and to deter him or others in similar situations from repeating such conduct by requiring the wrongdoer to pay extra money above and beyond what the plaintiff has lost.
These rewards are frequently large, since a significant penalty is required to catch the attention of big businesses with huge wallets, and smaller damages are generally recoverable in a negligence case. While your financial and emotional losses might be substantial, a defendant’s truly awful actions necessitate monetary compensation in addition to medical expenses, property damage, and mental anguish. Exemplary damages serve two purposes: punishment as well as recompense.
Continuing the example of a texting driver, the difficulties associated with demonstrating that the defendant was merely careless in their driving are shown. Most often, the texting driver was not grossly negligent because he did not believe he was putting himself in an extreme danger that would cause him harm. However, if that same motorist had previously collided with several other vehicle drivers at the same traffic light while texting in previous incidents, a case may be made that he was grossly irresponsible since he was aware and deliberately participated in disregarding the danger of his actions.
If You Were Hurt As A Result Of Gross Negligence, You’ll Need An Experienced Lawyer To Get The Most Compensation
As you’ve seen, proving gross negligence claims is a time-consuming task. Only after their case has received expert legal examination through an experienced personal injury lawyer does many claimants receive the maximum compensation available to them.
The attorneys at Texas Personal Injury Lawyers can assist you with a free consultation regarding your issue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To determine if they can put their experience and knowledge to work for you, call them at (888) 997-2148.
Call us at (888) 997-2148 now to schedule a free consultation today.
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