California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

3113. "Recklessness" Explained

[Name of defendant] acted with "recklessness" if [he/she] knew it was highly probable that [his/her] conduct would cause harm and [he/she] knowingly disregarded this risk.

"Recklessness" is more than just the failure to use reasonable care.

Sources and Authority

" 'Recklessness' refers to a subjective state of culpability greater than simple negligence, which has been described as a 'deliberate disregard' of the 'high degree of probability' that an injury will occur. Recklessness, unlike negligence, involves more than 'inadvertence, incompetence, unskillfulness, or a failure to take precautions' but rather rises to the level of a 'conscious choice of a course of action . . . with knowledge of the serious danger to others involved in it.' " (Delaney v. Baker (1999) 20 Cal.4th 23, 31-32 [82 Cal.Rptr.2d 610, 971 P.2d 986], internal citations omitted.)

In Conservatorship of Gregory v. Beverly Enterprises, Inc. (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 514, 521 [95 Cal.Rptr.2d 336], the court found that the following instruction adequately defined "recklessness": "[T]he term 'recklessness' requires that the defendant have knowledge of a high degree of probability that dangerous consequences will result from his or her conduct and acts with deliberate disregard of that probability or with a conscious disregard of the probable consequences. Recklessness requires conduct more culpable than mere negligence."

Restatement Second of Torts, section 500, provides: "The actor's conduct is in reckless disregard of the safety of another if he does an act or intentionally fails to do an act which it is his duty to the other to do, knowing or having reason to know of facts which would lead a reasonable man to realize, not only that his conduct creates an unreasonable risk of physical harm to another, but also that such risk is substantially greater than that which is necessary to make his conduct negligent."

(New September 2003)