The following section from Day on Torts Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law​​​ is out of date and should not be used. It remains a part of this site for historical purposes only. An updated version of the book is available by subscription at (Additional information below.)

§32.1 Generally

The Case: Jones v. Tennessee Riders Instruction Program, Inc. , No. M2006-01087-COA-R3-CV, 2007 WL 393630 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2007).

The Basic Facts: Jones claimed she was injured at a motorcycle safety course as a result of the gross negligence of the defendant.

The Bottom Line:

  • "Gross negligence is defined as 'a conscious neglect of duty or a callous indifference to consequences' or 'such entire want of care as would raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences.' Buckner, 793 S.W.2d at 941 (citing Thomason v. Wayne County, 611 S.W.2d 585 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1980); Sampley v. Aulabaugh, 589 S.W.2d 666 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1979))." 2007 WL 393630 at *2.

Other Sources of Note: Buckner v. Varner , 973 S.W.2d 939 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1990) (a contractual waiver of liability will not protect a person guilty of gross negligence).

Recent Cases: 

Thrasher v. Riverbend Stables , LLC, No. M2008-02698-COA-RM-CV, 2009 WL 275767 (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 5, 2009) (reversing summary judgment on gross negligence claim finding defendant failed to negate an essential element of that claim and failed to prove that plaintiff cannot prove an essential element at trial).

After an accident, many injury victims and their families want more information on the accident and their legal rights. Consequently, many of them have found their way to these pages. While we are happy you are here, please understand Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law was written to be a quick, invaluable reference for Tennessee tort lawyers. While the book provides the leading case for more than 300 tort law subjects and thousands of related case citations, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

Rather than researching these legal issues alone, we urge you to contact one of our award-winning lawyers who can sit down with you, review your case, answer your questions and clearly explain your rights and your options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys handle all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. If for any reason you are unable to come to our office, we will gladly come to you.

To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866.812.8787.

The foregoing is an excerpt from Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law, published by John A. Day, Civil Trial Specialist, Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, recipient of Best Lawyers in America recognition, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, and Top 100 Tennessee Mid-South Super Lawyers designee. Read John’s full bio here.

The book is now available electronically by subscription at The new format allows us to keep the book current as new opinions are released. BirdDog Law also has John's Tennessee Law of Civil Trial and Compendium of Tennessee Tort Reform Statutes available by subscription, as well as multiple free resources to help Tennessee lawyers serve their clients

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