Getting hurt due to the actions of another person or entity can turn your life upside down. If you have suffered a personal injury, you may be able to collect compensation for your medical bills and other expenses from the liable party. In order to determine liability, it is helpful to understand the difference between negligence and recklessness in a personal injury case.
Negligence consists of a party behaving in a careless manner that leads to an injury-causing accident. It occurs when someone breaches their duty, typically the duty to exercise reasonable care, causing harm to another person.
In the context of a car accident, a driver who is texting behind the wheel is not upholding their duty to drive safely. The driver can be held liable for damages if you can prove their negligent behavior caused your injuries.
Recklessness goes a step further than carelessness. It refers to taking a particular course of action despite knowing it could be dangerous. Like a negligent person, someone who is reckless may not have specifically intended to injure others. However, they knew or should have known their conduct was likely to cause harm.
Illinois courts define recklessness as behavior that shows indifference or a conscious disregard for other people’s safety. In terms of car accidents, examples of reckless behavior include speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.
Distinguishing between negligence and recklessness in a personal injury case is not always straightforward. It involves closely examining the facts of an accident. While on the surface the claims may seem similar, there are key legal differences. An injured person can obtain compensation in both types of cases, but accidents that involve recklessness may also include punitive damages to punish the at-fault party.