What Is Negligent Driving?

Jan 10

Imagine you are driving in Indianapolis, and a speeding driver coming from the other direction loses control and slams into your vehicle. You suffer serious injuries, and the car is totaled. What should you do now? The first step should be to seek medical attention and then speak to an attorney about your legal options.

In this article, learn more about negligent driving, how it contributes to accidents, and how to establish negligent driving to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver. If you have questions about a legal case, our Indiana auto accident attorneys at Blackburn Romey can help today.


What Is Negligent Driving?

Negligent driving generally means driving in a way that puts others at risk because you did not follow traffic rules. It also means that a driver was responsible for driving safely and did not do so. If negligent driving can be established during an accident, that person could be liable for the other driver’s damages. To prove negligence and negligent driving in a car accident in Indiana, you must prove the following:

Duty of Care

First, you must establish that the driver had to drive reasonably to protect other motorists from harm. This is assumed when anyone in Indiana drives a car, so this is usually easy to prove.

Breach of Duty

Next, you must show that the other driver did not uphold his duty to keep people safe on the road. This can be challenging to prove, but if you can find evidence that the driver was negligent, this proves your case. For example, if another driver saw the driver drift out of his traffic lane and into yours, that is strong evidence that he breached his duty.


It is insufficient to prove that a driver ran a stop sign. You also must show that running the stop sign was the cause of the accident and your injuries.


You must show that the injuries you suffered led to financial or personal losses. This might mean medical bills, lost earnings from work, and property damages, as well as pain and suffering or permanent injuries. You must show evidence of these damages to receive compensation.

Also, in Indiana, the law refers to several driving actions and behaviors that constitute reckless driving, which is similar but distinct from negligent driving. Reckless driving means operating a vehicle in a way that shows a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others. It can involve purposely driving in a way that puts others at risk. Some examples of reckless driving in Indiana include:

  • Driving too fast or slow in a manner that impedes traffic or causes danger to others.
  • Driving in an aggressive manner that puts others at risk.
  • Passing another vehicle when the driver cannot see more than 500 feet ahead because of a hill or curve.
  • Weaving in and out of traffic aggressively and illegally.
  • Not letting a driver over if they legally try to pass you.
  • Passing a school bus when you are required to stop.

If the other driver engages in this kind of driving, they could be liable for your injuries in a lawsuit. Also, in some cases, reckless driving could be considered a criminal offense.


Comparative Negligence In Indiana

While proving negligent driving can be straightforward in some cases, it can be more difficult when fault is being questioned. It is important to note that Indiana has a comparative negligence standard. This means that you can be partially at fault for the accident, in some cases, and still receive compensation for your losses. For example, if the court finds you were 20% at fault for a red light accident, you would only receive 80% of a judgment.


Why Get An Auto Accident Attorney To Prove Negligent Driving?

If you were hurt in an Indiana car accident and think the other driver was at fault, promptly obtain an attorney. Remember that even if you are certain that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident, the fault may be disputed. Your attorney will collect relevant evidence and attempt to prove that the other driver’s negligent driving caused the accident. Doing this on your own may be difficult.

Also, remember that liability for the accident is only one part of the case. Even if the at-fault driver’s insurance company concedes their client was wrong, they may still try to short-change you. The insurance company could downplay your injuries and try to reduce what they pay you.

For instance, suppose you were rear-ended at an Indianapolis intersection downtown and suffered whiplash and low back injuries. The injuries are to the soft tissues in the neck and back and do not appear on imaging scans. The insurance company could say you are exaggerating your pain and suffering. But your seasoned personal injury attorney will advocate for you to receive the full compensation you deserve.


What Damages Can You Receive In A Negligent Driving Claim?

If you and your attorney can prove that the other driver engaged in negligent driving and injured you, you could receive compensation in a claim or lawsuit. Some potential damages in your case may be:

  • Medical expenses, including future expenses and rehabilitation
  • Lost earnings in the past, present, and future
  • Pain and suffering

What you receive in compensation in a negligent driving case depends on many factors, including your degree of injury.


Contact Our Indiana Auto Accident Attorneys Today

Were you in an auto accident recently? Do you suspect the other party’s negligent driving contributed to your injuries? You should speak to a personal injury attorney promptly because you may be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.

Please contact one of our Indiana auto accident attorneys at Blackburn Romey today for a free consultation. We will determine if you have a case, and remember, you will not pay any legal fees upfront and nothing at all unless we win.

Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Tom Blackburn, who has more than 47 years of legal experience, including over 39 years specializing as a personal injury attorney.