Car crashes happened for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, neither driver is directly to blame. If there’s a defective component in one of the vehicles or extreme, inclement weather, drivers could lose control and cause collisions.
However, most crashes are the responsibility of one of the people involved. Someone chose not to maintain their vehicle, picked up their phone to send a text message or got behind the wheel after drinking. When a driver causes a crash, the people they hurt can sometimes file insurance claims and even civil lawsuits.
Understanding whether a driver was reckless or negligent at the wheel will be crucial the building your case. What is the difference between recklessness and negligence when it comes to car crashes?
What is negligence?
Negligence involves one person failing in their duty or responsibility to others. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you have a duty to all of the public to be safe and to follow traffic laws. Decisions that don’t necessarily break the law but that the average person would say are dangerous constitute negligence.
When someone is negligent, they may wind up cited for causing the crash and could face a personal injury or wrongful death claim because of their actions at the wheel.
Recklessness is more serious than negligence
Under Oklahoma law, reckless driving is any behavior behind the wheel that shows carelessness or a wanton disregard for the safety of others. In other words, recklessness involves acting in a way that you know could hurt someone. Racing, drunk driving and exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount could all lead to allegations of reckless driving.
If police officers or prosecutors think that recklessness led to a crash, they might charge the driver with reckless driving, arguably one of the most serious traffic violations possible. A conviction with a reckless driving charge will leave someone who caused the crash vulnerable to personal injury claims by those hurt in such a crash or those who lost a loved one.
Understanding the difference between negligence and recklessness will help you take the appropriate actions in an upcoming claim against a driver who hurt you or killed a member of your family.