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What Is Gross Negligence?


When a person fails to take care of another person to the point of grossly failing the standard of care, a person can be accused of gross negligence. Generally speaking, negligence is failure to take care of a person. However, there are certain standards that should be met and therefore failure to meet these standards at certain levels entails degrees of negligence.


Gross negligence is generally considered to be behavior that is reckless and willfully places another person in jeopardy. Thus, gross negligence is a question of safety and care. For example, a person who runs a stop sign and hits a car may be accused of negligence, but a person driving under the influence of alcohol that runs a stop sign and hits a car may be guilty of gross negligence.


Several elements need to be proven in order to successfully prove gross negligence. First, the prosecutor or plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant or the accused owed a duty of care for the plaintiff. This can be in the form of a warning placed on a product from a manufacturer or a caretaker in charge of another individual. In any case, one party is obliged to provide a form of care in order to prevent harm to another party. The second element to prove is that the defendant breached this obligation of care. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant did not act or did act in a manner that placed the plaintiff in jeopardy. The third element that must be proven is that the plaintiff suffered injury or loss. The last element to prove in a case of legal negligence is that the injury or loss suffered by the plaintiff is directly due to the negligence shown by the defendant.

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