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Negligence versus recklessness: The subtle differences

Several levels of fault are recognized by the law. These include negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct and strict liability. In most cases involving car crashes, negligence or recklessness is the primary cause. This act of negligence or recklessness results in injuries to the victims who have a right to pursue a claim against the driver responsible.

The actions of a driver may be reckless or negligent depending on a number of factors like his or her speed, the intention to act in the reckless manner and other considerations. Here are a few things to know about the fault that resulted in your crash.

Negligence: Carelessness

Negligence is careless behavior at its core. This doesn't mean the individual wanted to cause an accident or even that the individual meant to act in a way that could lead to a crash. For instance, someone who looks away from the road because of noticing a deer on the side of the highway is negligent, because he or she is not watching the road in front of him or her. He or she was distracted, but that distraction wasn't mean to cause harm. It's careless behavior to look away from the road, even if it's to look at another potential hazard.

Recklessness: Rolling the dice

Recklessness is different because it involves a driver who knowingly takes a risk. The individual is aware that the risk could put him- or herself or others in harm's way but does it anyway. State laws prohibit reckless behaviors like speeding, texting behind the wheel, or drinking and driving.

Recklessness and negligence may seem similar, but they are different at their cores. Regardless of a driver's intentions, it's necessary for someone who causes a crash to be liable. That individual is responsible for the injuries and harm that has come to others and should face penalties.

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