Gross negligence is a term often heard when discussing serious injuries at the fault of another, such as a drunk driver speeding through a crowd, or a doctor prescribing a non-compatible drug that leads to death. These situations often lead to large financial settlements, and for valid reasons; gross negligence infers a disregard for life. In this blog, we’ll examine exactly what gross negligence is in Florida and what it can mean for a victim of such an act.
What is gross negligence?
Under Florida law, gross negligence is defined as “conduct so reckless or wanting in care that it constitutes a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.” This is considered a higher offense than standard negligence, which involves mistakes and failures to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm.
Gross negligence claims need to prove one of two things: clear evidence that a defendant was excessively reckless or that the defendant demonstrated an intentional disregard for others’ safety. Willfully creating dangerous vehicular scenarios are often labeled as gross negligence, as are product defect cases if the manufacturer continued to produce and distribute faulty products known to cause harm or death. Because the implications of disregard are so severe in gross negligence cases, victims may be entitled to punitive damages.
What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages, sometimes called exemplary damages, are meant to be punishment for the defendant, but are, of course, awarded to the victim. Florida has limits on the amount of damages that an individual can receive: up to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000 – whichever is higher. Compensatory damages, also known as actual damages, are sums that are equivalent to actual losses a party suffered, such as a vehicle, home, or other expenses. A max case scenario could be the plaintiff’s receipt of 500,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5M in punitive damages.
Are you the victim of gross negligence?
If you were injured or suffered losses due to gross negligence, our attorneys and professionals can help guide and represent your case. The attorneys at Cohen & Newmark are experienced in representing victims of gross negligence and working to achieve the compensation that suits the damages. A free consultation with our team can provide valuable information on what the process and results of your case could look like. To speak with an attorney, reach out online or call us at 1-800-CALL-LEE.