Wanton Disregard What it Means How it Works Examples

Wanton Disregard What it Means How it Works Examples

Wanton Disregard: Meaning, How it Works, Examples

What Is Wanton Disregard?

Wanton disregard is a legal term that describes an individual’s extreme lack of care for another person’s well-being or rights. It signifies reckless behavior and is commonly used in the context of insurance to refer to negligence that results in damages or injury.

Wanton disregard may also be referred to as wanton conduct and may more formally be expressed as willful and wanton disregard.

Key Takeaways

  • Wanton disregard refers to extreme negligence.
  • It is a serious accusation that indicates reckless behavior.
  • In finance, individuals who show willful disdain for regulations or their clients’ best interests may be accused of wanton disregard.

Understanding Wanton Disregard

Negligence occurs when an individual fails to exercise reasonable care in their actions. However, wanton disregard is more serious than mere carelessness. It is not necessarily intentionally malicious, but it surpasses ordinary negligence. In a lawsuit, wanton disregard may lead to punitive damages, depending on the severity of the situation and state laws.

Ordinary Negligence

Ordinary negligence occurs when an individual behaves contrary to how a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. It may also involve the failure to do something expected of a reasonable person. Negligence laws require individuals to take reasonable actions to protect themselves and others from harm. Failure to meet this duty may result in payment for damages.

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Gross Negligence

Gross negligence indicates a significantly greater lack of care or diligence compared to ordinary negligence. It demonstrates indifference and a violation of the legal duty to others. In wrongful death cases, punitive damages can be awarded when evidence of gross negligence is found.

Willful, Wanton or Reckless Behavior

This behavior is close to intentionally causing harm or damage, though it falls short of actual malice. "Willful and wanton disregard," for example, suggests that an individual understands the danger of an action and knows it will likely cause substantial harm, yet proceeds anyway.

Examples of Wanton Disregard

A financial advisor at a large firm stores sensitive client information in an online database. The database is later hacked, leading to the theft of a client’s identity. The financial advisor is informed of the issue but fails to address it. This constitutes wanton disregard as the company recklessly disregards a known problem.

Another example of wanton disregard would be a supervisor instructing a subordinate to service a piece of machinery while it is still running. This is obviously dangerous behavior, and any resulting injury would be evidence of wanton disregard.

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