Pennsylvania Gross Negligence Explained

Gross Negligence in Pennsylvania LawsuitsIn our society, everyone has a duty to behave responsibly towards everyone else. In other words, we are expected to exercise what is called reasonable care. This means we are required to drive properly, maintain our homes so guests won’t be hurt, and keep our dogs from biting visitors.  Most of the time, in a lawsuit, the case is about regular negligence. This kind of negligence is normally a simple mistake that anyone can make.  However, there is a higher level of negligence called gross negligence. The difference between traditional negligence and gross negligence relates to the behavior or intentions of the person or company who hurt the victim.

Gross negligence is intentional, careless or reckless behavior. When someone is grossly negligent, he has gone past the point of just making a simple mistake. Rather, he has chosen to ignore normal standards of behavior which he knew or should have known would cause an injury.

Proving Gross vs Normal Negligence

Regular negligence basically has 3 parts. Duty, failure and harm.

  • The person has a legal duty to behave a certain way. (Driving properly)
  • He didn’t uphold that duty.  (Speeding)
  • The behavior hurt the victim. (Car accident)

With gross negligence, there are the same duty, failure, and harm elements, but the person at fault also acted intentionally and/or recklessly in a dangerous manner.

Examples of Gross Negligence

Some examples of gross negligence might include:

  • Extreme speeding
  • Knowing an elevator is broken and doing nothing to prevent its use
  • Drinking and driving

Legal Result of Gross Negligence

If someone is grossly negligent and hurts you, you might be entitled to a kind of financial compensation called punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the defendant as well as keep him from engaging in the same bad behavior in the future.


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