What is the Difference Between Negligence and Recklessness?

At the exact moment of an accident, the reason for the crash doesn’t matter too much. Instead, your safety and well-being should be a priority Once everyone is safe, that’s when cause begins to matter.

In Yakima, Washington, we know how stressful and overwhelming these accidents can be. Reckless driving and negligent driving can cause the same problems out on the roadways, but there are a few differences between the two to which you should be aware.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving?

Recklessness consists of unlawful and unsafe driving with a disregard for the safety of others. Reckless drivers are aware of the risks involved but still drive dangerously. Some examples of reckless driving include:

  • Excessively driving over the speed limit.
  • Not using proper turning signals when turning or changing lanes
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Driving while texting or talking on your cell phone.
  • Refusing to stop at stop signs or red lights.
  • Failure to use headlights while driving in the rain or at night.

What Constitutes Negligence?

Negligent driving consists of failing to use reasonable care while operating a vehicle, which could lead to damage or injury to someone. Negligent drivers—although they should be—are not aware of the inherent risks. Some examples of negligent driving include:

  • Driving under the influence of non-prescribed drugs or alcohol.
  • Operating a vehicle on private property without consent of the owner.
  • Involve incidents where the term “accidental” is applicable.
  • Unintentionally failing to provide a safe environment for other drivers.

Are There Differences in the Accidents?

Although negligent and reckless driving cases differ, the consequent injuries are the same either way. It usually doesn’t matter whether or not a person knowingly put others at risk. If someone is driving dangerously—with or without intent—the resulting injuries are the same and could be life-threatening.

If I’m Involved in a Reckless or Negligent Driving Accident in Yakima, Washington, What Should I Do?

The first thing you should immediately do is call 911. This should be done first to ensure your safety as well as provide a trusted police report to be used later in court.

Make sure to get the names and contact information of all available witnesses on scene. The at-fault driver will do everything they can to prove they weren’t liable, but having eyewitness accounts can help you in court.

Once you are safely home from the accident, call us and get in contact with an attorney. This is extremely important as they will be able to provide you with the steps that you should take. Give your attorney as much information as possible about the accident and take photographic evidence for them as well. It is extremely important to talk to your lawyer before talking to the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company will try to get your statement of the accident and your medical information—do not give that information to them as they might be able to use it against you.

Don’t do anything to incriminate yourself. Even something as simple as saying, “I’m sorry” can be used against you in court as an admittance of fault.