In it's simplest form, "Negligence" is the failing to do what a reasonable person would do under the same or similar circumstances, or otherwise taking some action that falls outside the reasonable person standard. It can be an action or an omission and is usually judged by the "reasonable person" standard. The law usually imposes on most people a duty to act reasonably and considers a breach of this duty to be negligence. The standard of care required often varies depending on the circumstances, the age and mental status of the actor and may also be affected by the educational status of the actor. For example, professionals such as doctors may be held to a higher standard of care than a layperson would be held to, in the same or similar circumstances.
Determining whether someone was negligent often depends as well on the cause of the accident.
The Cause of Your Accident is Important to Know
For example, responsible drivers usually do not cause auto accidents -- negligent drivers usually do. Some examples of negligent driving include:
- Distracted Driving: Many activities divert drivers' attention from safely navigating. Electronic devices are at the top of the list, but other tasks are great offenders, including operating the car radio, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, putting on makeup and reading.
- Speeding: "Speed Kills." This is a fact. When vehicles travel at higher rates of speed, it is harder to stop and reaction time is less. Some drivers ignore the speed limits on Maryland, Virignia and Washington DC city streets, highways and rural roads. Exceeding the speed limit is a common cause of wrongful injury or wrongful death.
- Reckless Driving: Often combined with speeding, reckless driving includes weaving in and out of traffic, fast lane changes, following too close to the car ahead, cutting off another driver, and road rage behavior.
- Drunk Driving: Operating a motor vehicle in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is illegal. A person driving under the influence and drunk or on drugs runs an extremely high risk of injuring or killing someone else, or him or herself.