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What makes a driver reckless rather than negligent?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2018 | Car Accidents |

It is often the case that when a car accident happens on a Baton Rouge road that one or more of the involved drivers were acting negligently. A negligent driver is not necessarily one who wants to harm others, but through their carelessness or inattention, create the hazard that leads to the injuries of others. Negligence is a common basis for many personal injury legal cases.

However, recklessness is a different form of conduct than negligence. While negligence is clearly inadvertent, recklessness is more deliberate. If a person is conducting themselves recklessly, then they do not care if their actions harm others; they may recognize that individuals may be harmed by what they do but that threat does not stop them from engaging in dangerous actions that disregard the welfare of others.

Consider, for example, a driver who is texting while behind the wheel of their car. They do not want to harm anyone, but while attempting to send their message, they run a red light and collide with cross traffic. As a distracted driver their conduct is negligent but may not rise to the level of reckless.

Now, consider a driver who is drunk and speeding through town. They are approaching an intersection and see that the light is turning yellow. Rather than slowing down to stop, they accelerate well above the posted speed limit, enter the intersection after the light has turned red, and collide with cross traffic. This driver’s action was deliberate, intentional and may constitute recklessness due to their intoxication and conduct.

Both recklessness and negligence may form the bases of car accident litigation. When discussing one’s options with their personal injury attorney a vehicle accident victim may consider how, if at all, pleading different causes of action could affect their damages outcome. For instance, punitive damages may be available after an accident involving reckless conduct.