Car Accidents And Intent

Car Accidents And Intent

A lot of the time in criminal law, the prosecutor must prove to the judge or jury that the defendant not only committed the crime but did so intentionally. Intent is a big issue in this area of the law. It can impact what prosecutors can charge the defendant with and even if they can pursue charges at all.

Personal injury law is different. As the plaintiff in a lawsuit over a car accident, you do not have the burden of proving that the defendant injured you on purpose. Instead, negligence is the standard. Negligence is a legal concept that means someone acted below the level of care that someone with ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.


For example, a prudent person would not drive after drinking several glasses of wine or beer. A person who drinks and drives and causes a crash is generally considered to have acted negligently because intoxication reduces your ability to drive safely. Other common examples of negligent behavior that causes serious injury in auto accidents are:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Running red lights

Drivers who do these things are rarely trying to cause a wreck. But by creating the conditions that led to the crash, they are liable for their victims’ injuries under Maryland law.


This relatively low standard of proof gives victims of dangerous drivers a fair chance at compensation. While most personal injury claims get settled out of court, the defendant’s insurance company sometimes refuses to be reasonable in negotiations. If going to court is necessary, you would highly benefit from retaining a personal injury lawyer with courtroom experience.

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