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Personal Injury Law: Recklessness Explained

If you've been injured by another, you may have heard the terms recklessness and negligence thrown around, and you may be curious as to the difference between the two. Below is a basic overview of the legal definitions of both recklessness and negligence and what you should do if you find yourself the plaintiff in a personal injury case.

What is the Legal Definition of Recklessness?

Legally defined, recklessness occurs when an individual or group of individuals know the consequences of an action (or should know) but perform the action anyways.

Recklessness is a common charge in personal injury lawsuits but is seen most commonly when referring to auto accidents and similar injuries. Drinking and driving, for example, is a reckless behavior because the risks are commonly known, and any individual who drinks and drives is recklessly disregarding the well-being of other drivers and pedestrians. Other reckless behavior include using illegal substances in a public area.

What's the Difference Between Negligence and Recklessness?

The key difference between negligence and recklessness is that when someone is reckless, they knowingly take a risk. Negligence, on the other hand, occurs when the consequences of an action lead to someone's harm, but the risk was not taken on purpose.

For example, negligence would be speeding on a roadway and causing an accident without considering the risks involved in such an act. Negligence, however, would be speeding on a roadway and causing an accident, but knowing what consequences could occur and ignoring the risk. Essentially, the difference between the two legal terms (and criminal charges) is mindset.

What Should You Do If Your Injury Was Caused by Recklessness?

If you have suffered a personal injury due to the recklessness of another, there's a few things you should do to prepare for your case.

First, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer so you can build a case for recklessness. It can be difficult to distinguish between negligence and recklessness, so it's important to work with an experienced attorney who can offer their knowledge and experience on the matter. Second, you should never speak with the defendant's attorney without your attorney present. Third, if the defendant's insurance company contacts you for any reason, direct them to speak to you only through your attorney.

To learn more about personal injury and what to do if you've been injured due to someone else's recklessness, consult with a personal injury attorney immediately.