Many people use the phrase “negligent driving” or “negligence” in reference to a car accident. For instance, if you are involved in a car accident and can prove the other driver acted negligently, you may be able to file a claim to recover compensation for your injuries. But exactly does negligence mean, when it comes to car accidents? What are some examples of negligent driving?

One of the most difficult aspects of a car accident case can be establishing whether or not negligence or negligent acts were the cause of serious injuries and damages. In many cases, accidents are simply that, accidents. In other cases, such as a drugged driving accident, it can be easily established that the act of criminal negligence is what caused the accident and the person who should be held liable for the damages. There are instances, however, when the negligent acts of another are not quite as black and white, yet the responsible party still should be held accountable.

Careless Driving, Negligent Driving or Reckless Driving?

In some scenarios, drivers may be unintentional in their unsafe behavior. They did not mean to cause an accident or may not have known that their behavior was unsafe. Even if a driver’s behavior was unintentional, it does not mean that they were not negligent in their actions (or lack thereof). New Jersey law allows a police officer significant discretion to issue a ticket for careless driving when the behavior doesn’t fit any other category. 

Negligent Driving

Negligence occurs when drivers fail in their legal duty to use reasonable care while operating a vehicle, which could lead to injuries and damages to one or more vehicles. Drivers have a legal obligation to act in a certain manner that is dictated by law but when he or she proceeds to breach that duty by acting in a particular manner or failing to act at all, they are being negligent. Unlike reckless drivers, negligent drivers do not know about the inherent risks associated with their behavior. Negligent driving is often a traffic violation (versus a criminal offense).

Examples of negligent driving include but are not limited to: 

Reckless Driving

The key difference between careless or negligent driving and reckless driving in New Jersey is the intent behind the action of the driver. Some cases of negligent driving are egregious, which results in drivers being charged with reckless driving. In the case of reckless driving, a driver is charged with ‘willful or wanton disregard in the ….safety of others.” If a New Jersey driver is charged with reckless driving and causes an injury accident, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim against the driver to recover compensation for losses related to the injury and accident.

In New Jersey, reckless driving defined by the New Jersey Revised Statutes § 39:4-96 (2013), reckless driving is as follows:

“A person who drives a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving…”

Common types of reckless driving in New Jersey include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Disregarding police traffic barriers
  • Driving in between lanes and causing collisions
  • Weaving through traffic erratically or against traffic signals
  • Drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs

The definition of reckless driving in New Jersey can be vague and is subjective. What’s clear is that reckless driving can cause serious accidents and injuries for other drivers and passengers. Injured victims may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim.

Can You Sue a Negligent Driver?

Many times, yes you may be able to file an injury claim or lawsuit against another driver, if that driver’s negligence resulted in an injury accident. Drivers owe a ‘duty of care’ to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. When a negligent driver fails in this duty of care and causes an accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for your losses due to the accident.

Compensation for a Car Accident

New Jersey and New York are both no-fault insurance states, which means that your own personal injury protection insurance (PIP) is the first or primary source for insurance claims after an accident. That doesn’t mean that getting fair compensation for your injuries and medical treatment is easy. And, in the case of serious injury, you may also be able to file a claim against the negligent drivers policy. Compensation could include:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Medications
  • Medical devices
  • Lost income
  • Future earning capacity
  • Intangible losses, like pain and suffering

Pre-existing conditions, insurance adjuster denial tactics and other factors can sometimes make it difficult to get the compensation you deserve from the insurance company. Consult with a skilled, experienced car accident lawyer to understand your options.

Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Can Help

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, don’t go it alone. An experienced car accident lawyer can advocate for your best interest and pursue fair compensation for your damages. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, you can count on us to work tirelessly for your quality of life. We’ve helped people just like you move forward after sustaining an injury that was caused by another’s negligence. Contact us now


Posted by: Brandon J. Bro…
Date: Fri, 02/18/2022 - 14:33

Still have questions?

Speak to an attorney today

Call now and be done