When Negligence Becomes Outrageous

The most common reason that someone would need a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg is because of negligence. Simply put, this means that someone, maybe the driver in the other car, or the staff at an amusement park, or the janitors at a shopping mall, had a legal responsibility to carry out their activities safely. For whatever reason, they failed to do that, perhaps because of looking at a phone, or deciding to clean up a spill on the floor after lunch, instead of right now, and that lapse in responsibility resulted in someone else’s injury. This is typically defined in courts as negligence. And when negligence is involved, that means that the act is often not considered a criminal act, but instead is a mistake that has resulted in serious negative consequences.

Negligence can, however, go a “step further,” legally speaking. While “vanilla” negligence is the most common cause used in personal injury cases, there is another more serious level of negligence; gross negligence.

Just Short Of Evil

Gross negligence obviously has certain connotations, given the name, and the fact that it is considered more serious than run-of-the-mill negligence. The difference comes down to the degree of carelessness or thoughtlessness involved. There may not be any deliberately malicious intent involved, but the person committing gross negligence usually is taking an action that common sense dictates is very dangerous, and is choosing to disregard that risk.

So, for example, a case of typical negligence might be a homeowner that forgets that the key to the gun cabinet is sitting on a desk in the study. Children visiting see the key, and one of the resident children remembers what it is for, and uses it to gain access to the gun cabinet, resulting in a discharge and the injury of another child. In this case, the homeowner had taken reasonable precautions to make the firearms normally inaccessible, but had a lapse in judgement that resulted in a preventable injury.

Then there is the example of gross negligence. A driver with children in the car is carrying a firearm on their person, and the weapon is loaded. The driver then stops the car at a convenience store to pick up some additional beer, and leaves the gun, loaded, with the safety off, in the passenger seat. One of the children in the back seat reaches over, fires the gun, and shoots another child in the car, resulting in death.

In this case, the driver likely did not intend for one child to shoot other. However, the driver did exercise extreme misjudgment in leaving a loaded gun within easy reach of children. Even if, in this case, the driver had intended to just step away for a few minutes, the decision to leave a loaded weapon alone with children would be considered gross negligence.

Gross negligence can often have very serious, even tragic consequences. If you think gross negligence was involved in an accident that you experienced, contact a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg to get proper, legal resolution.