gross negligence

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Gross negligence is a lack of care that demonstrates reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, which is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people's rights to safety. Gross negligence is a heightened degree of negligence representing an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of care. Falling between intent to do wrongful harm and ordinary negligence, gross negligence is defined as willful, wanton, and reckless conduct affecting the life or property or another. 

Gross negligence is considered more harmful than ordinary negligence because it implies a thoughtless disregard of the consequences and the failure to use even slight care to avoid harming the life or property of another. As such, someone who is found liable for gross negligence can be responsible for higher damages than ordinary negligence.

[Last updated in January of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]