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What Is The Difference Between Negligent & Reckless Driving?

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If you have been injured in a St. Louis car accident and the other party is found at fault, you may be wondering if there is a difference between negligent driving and reckless driving and if this matters for your case? Let’s discuss the basics of both negligent and reckless driving in St. Louis, and why this matters.

Negligent Driving Is Usually Accidental, and Is Typically a Civil Issue

Negligence occurs when a driver fails to exercise “reasonable care” while operating a vehicle, and this leads to property damage, personal injury, or damages to one or more vehicles. 

Drivers have a legal obligation to follow traffic laws, drive safely, and avoid accidents wherever possible. 

Negligent driving usually only incurs civil charges. For example, a person who is found to be driving negligently may be sued for personal injury if they hurt someone, but they will generally not be charged with any kind of crime. 

Often, the person who was found negligent may not have been aware of the risk they posed to other people on the road. 

Examples of negligent driving may include distracted driving, such as texting while driving, driving while fatigued, or failing to properly maintain a vehicle if this leads to an accident. 

Reckless Driving Is Generally Intentional, and May Result In Criminal Charges

Aggressive and reckless driving plays a role in 56% of all fatal crashes. Reckless driving is similar to negligent driving, but is characterized by a willful disobedience of the law. The person driving will likely know full well that they are breaking traffic laws and endangering others – and engage in risky behaviors anyway. This can include things like:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Excessive speeding on public roads, or road racing
  • Failing to use turn signals, stop at stop signs or stop lights, or follow other traffic laws
  • Illegal passing or weaving through traffic
  • Tailgating

In contrast with negligent driving, reckless driving often results in criminal charges being levied against the responsible party. Depending on the severity of the incident and the injuries caused by the person who was driving recklessly, this can include license suspension, monetary penalties, or even jail time. 

You Can Pursue Damages For Both Negligent & Reckless Driving 

If you have been injured by a negligent or reckless driver, it’s possible to pursue damages and file a suit against the responsible party with the help of a St. Louis car accident attorney

Whether or not the other driver was accidentally negligent or purposefully reckless is not that important when it comes to determining liability. If the other driver is found at fault, you may be able to get compensation for lost wages, hospital bills, and other costs from their insurance company.

So don’t wait. If you’ve been injured by a reckless or negligent driver, get in touch with our experienced legal team for a FREE case review.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

Free Consultation (314) 361-4242
Updated: July 20, 2020