The term negligence is used to describe when a person has behaved in a thoughtless or careless manner, which caused harm or injury to another person. The law requires drivers to use reasonable care to avoid harming anyone on the road. An individual who drives at an unsafe speed for the existing road or weather conditions may be considered negligent.
A person is guilty of negligent driving if he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property. The police will often charge anyone with negligent driving if they were at fault for an accident. This is prosecuted as a misdemeanor and the maximum sentence can be up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
A conviction for negligent driving or driving to endanger will result in license suspension for a term of 30 to 180 days. The driver may be assessed 4 to 6 points against their driver's license, depending on the severity of the accident and the jurisdiction of where it occurred.
Determining who is legally responsible for a car accident can be a difficult process. The person bringing the lawsuit must first prove that the other person was negligent. How liability is determined when both parties contributed to the car accident depends on where you live. A few states follow the contributory negligence system, but most follow the comparative negligence system. Comparative negligence is applied to a situation where each party involved is responsible for some degree of negligence. A defendant can raise a partial defense by saying that the plaintiff was partly at fault for the accident. Dealing with the legal defenses and the determination of fault in auto accidents can be complicated and requires the assistance of experienced legal counsel.