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WPI10.07Gross Negligence—Definition

Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 10.07 (6th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
December 2017 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part II. Negligence—Risk—Misconduct—Proximate Cause
Chapter 10. Negligence and Ordinary Care
WPI 10.07 Gross Negligence—Definition
Gross negligence is the failure to exercise slight care. It is negligence that is substantially greater than ordinary negligence. Failure to exercise slight care does not mean the total absence of care but care substantially less than ordinary care.
NOTE ON USE
Use with WPI 10.01, Negligence—Adult—Definition, and WPI 10.02, Ordinary Care—Adult—Definition. Because this instruction refers to negligence and ordinary care, jurors may find it helpful if these instructions are included on a single page.
COMMENT
The term “gross negligence,” although found in many statutes, has not been statutorily defined. See, e.g., RCW 4.24.264, 4.24.268, and 7.70.090. The instruction is based upon the meaning of gross negligence as it was developed under the former host-guest statute, RCW 46.08.080, which was repealed in 1974. “In determining the degree of negligence, the law must necessarily look to the hazards of the situation confronting the actor.” See Nist v. Tudor, 67 Wn.2d 322, 331, 407 P.2d 798 (1965); Note, 41 Wash.L.Rev. 591 (1966).
In Youngblood v. Schireman, 53 Wn.App. 95, 765 P.2d 1312 (1988), the court discussed gross negligence under RCW 4.24.300, the “good Samaritan” statute. The opinion states that gross negligence is negligence that is substantially and appreciably greater than ordinary negligence.
In Boyce v. West, 71 Wn.App. 657, 665, 862 P.2d 592 (1993), the court, without citing to WPI 10.07, stated, “to raise an issue of gross negligence, there must be substantial evidence of serious negligence.”
[Current as of June 2009.]
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