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What is recklessness?

We all witness drivers not driving entirely safely. Whether they are speeding through a yellow light, failing to signal a turn or cutting off another driver, or something else, we know these are all dangerous acts. Even if they seem minimal or harmless to those doing them, the reality is that these actions could initiate the chain reaction that leads to a car crash.

When it comes to automobile collisions, the terms negligent and reckless are often used to describe a driver that causes a crash. What is recklessness? In simple terms, this is defined as a person acting with disregard for the safety of others. Additionally, the person should know or should have known that these actions could harm another. Finally, when such acts do harm another person, that individual could be liable for the resulting injuries and damages.

Unlike intent, the person is not acting with the intent to cause harm to another; however, they have knowledge or should have known that their conduct is likely to cause harm. This is also a step up from negligence, which is when a person acts in violation of his or her duty owed to someone else but isn't being anything more than simply careless or thoughtless when doing so.

With regards to automobile collisions, recklessness could be attributed to the driver is he or she intentionally goes through a stop sign in order to avoid traffic coming form both directions. Other acts include excessive speeding, drinking and driving and drag racing. If a reckless driver causes an accident, a driver could face serious criminal penalties and well as civil liabilities, which, in such cases, might include punitive damages.

An injured victim of one's recklessness behind the wheel could file a personal injury action. This legal claim could help hold a driver liable for the resulting damages while also helping the victim recover compensation to offset the pain, suffering and other losses endured.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Recklessness," accessed Dec. 18, 2017

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