Pocatello Personal Injury Attorneys | Se Habla EspaƱol

What Is Recklessness?

Recklessness is a legal concept that applies to the fields of both criminal law and personal injury litigation. It occurs whenever someone takes a risk knowing that their actions may result in someone else being harmed. DUIs, for example, are sometimes reduced to a reckless driving charge called a wet reckless.

What Is the Difference Between Recklessness and Negligence?

As we mentioned above, recklessness can apply in both criminal cases and civil lawsuits. Criminal recklessness can only occur when the defendant (or the person on trial) makes a conscious decision to disregard the risks associated with their actions and proceeds despite foreseeable harm. Defending a recklessness charge often involves explaining the defendant’s frame of mind.

In civil concerns, recklessness is a step above negligence. Negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable care and often applies when the defendant makes an honest mistake. On the other hand, recklessness involves a knowing disregard for the safety of others. For example, a driver who accidentally rear-ends someone because they are adjusting the air conditioning would be negligent, but someone who rear-ends someone while tailgating them would be reckless. The difference here is that adjusting the air conditioning does not cause accidents with nearly as much frequency as tailgating and other aggressive driving behaviors do. While the driver who was momentarily distracted was acting carelessly, the person who was tailgating knew what the consequences of their actions could be and acted without regard to safety.

If someone purposefully rams the back of another vehicle during a road rage incident, their actions have gone beyond recklessness and may be addressed an intentional tort.

Other Situations Where Recklessness Applies

Although car accidents are good for showing the nuances of recklessness, this legal concept can come into play in many different situations.

Recklessness could apply in the following situations:

  • Using illegal substances in a public area
  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a license
  • Endangering a child
  • Knowingly exposing someone to a sexually transmitted disease

Once again, if you have been charged with recklessness, your frame of mind is important. Hiring a criminal defense attorney can help you account for your actions and fight or reduce your charges.

Tell Us Your Story Today

Depending on your situation, you may need help facing a recklessness charge or assistance holding reckless individuals accountable. No matter what you’re facing, May, Rammell & Wells can help.

Call us at (208) 623-8021 today to discuss your case – and don’t forget to schedule a free consultation.

We hope we have helped you understand the concept of recklessness, and we look forward to the opportunity to navigate the legal system by your side.


What Makes Our Firm Different?

  • 70+ Years of Collective Experience
  • Passionate About the Pursuit of Justice
  • Full-Service Law Firm
  • We Are Not Afraid to Take Your Case to Trial
  • Committed to the Highest Level of Integrity
  • Backed by a History of Success

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Schedule a Consultation Today
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.