Negligence & Recklessness: Which Applies to Your Case?

Negligence and recklessness—these are the two terms for which most personal injury cases are established, and though they may sound interchangeable, their definitions vary in many legal forums. 

In court, everything from a rear-end car crash to a medical misdiagnosis will be argued as an act of negligence or recklessness, but knowing which applies to your case is crucial to its success. As Albuquerque’s leading team of personal injury lawyers, we’re dedicated to helping you construct a strong case that will help you attain justice. To achieve this, we’ve broken down the definitions of both negligence and recklessness below, providing examples of each and explaining their ruling in a court.

Negligence: Creating Dangers That One is Possibly Unaware Of
As defined by Merriam-Webster, the legal definition of negligence is: failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances. Being that its definition is fairly vague, negligence is a common and useful umbrella term in the courts, as it covers nearly all accidents and incidents in which someone is injured or killed. The conclusion of many personal injury cases is established on the fact that someone was acting carelessly in a situation which required alertness, awareness, and a certain degree of capability. 

Example: A property owner who does not maintain the grounds, and therefore causes a tenant to injure themself on a broken step of the staircase. 

Recklessness: Deliberately Disregarding Common Sense
Similar to negligence, Merriam-Webster defines the legal term of recklessness as: the quality or state of being reckless, but requiring conscious disregard of risk to others. In some cases, there are intricate details that the plaintiff may use to establish recklessness, not just negligence. This makes it easier for the plaintiff to convince the court that someone should have been aware of the harm they could cause through their direct actions, and therefore acted recklessly, thus making it easier for the victim to receive greater compensation. 

Example: Someone who is drunk, but chooses to get behind the wheel anyways and causes a serious car accident as a result. 

Establishing Your Case, Fighting for You! 
The main difference between negligence and recklessness is this: negligence is someone acting carelessly and possibly being unaware of the hazard or harm they could cause, whereas someone acting recklessly is knowingly participating in an activity that any reasonable person would consider dangerous.  

At Carter & Valle Law Firm, we’ll help you fully understand the two, determining which to establish your case upon in order to attain the compensation you deserve. If you’re ready to fight back, turn to the personal injury lawyers Albuquerque trusts and call us at (505) 888-4357.