Gross Negligence

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Gross Negligence




What is the dictionary definition of Gross Negligence?

Dictionary Definition


n. carelessness which is in reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, and is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people’s rights to safety. It is more than simple inadvertence, but it is just shy of being intentionally evil. If one has borrowed or contracted to take care of another’s property, then gross negligence is the failure to actively take the care one would of his/her own property. If gross negligence is found by the trier of fact (judge or jury), it can result in the award of punitive damages on top of general and special damages.


Full Definition of Gross Negligence


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.”

A recent example of gross negligence can be found in the case against Michael Jackson’s doctor, Dr. Murray. The court argued that Dr Murray’s “deviations from medical standards of care included the doctor leaving his patient alone with propofol and lorazepam nearby” and using propofol to treat Jackson’s insomnia. The courts also argued Jackson might have lived if his doctor had called 911 immediately after realizing he was not breathing rather than waiting 20 minutes.

Defendants who are found grossly negligence may have to pay damages which are above compensatory damages (medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering). The court may decide to have them also pay punitive damages which are designed to punish and eliminate similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages can often be very high, several times higher than compensatory damages, sometimes running in the millions of dollars.


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Gross Negligence. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/gross-negligence/

Definition Sources


Definitions for Gross Negligence are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 28th April, 2020 | 12 Views.