Dangerous Driving vs Careless Driving – An Explanation With Examples

By Lewis Aaliyah. Last Updated 22nd March 2023. Welcome to our guide exploring careless driving vs dangerous driving and the injuries that you could sustain in a car accident caused by them. When on the road, we expect other drivers to act in a way that ensures our health and safety.

However, this doesn’t always happen, and sometimes a driver will act in a way that puts others on the road in danger. The accidents that result from this negligent driving can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. 

Dangerous And Careless Driving

If you’ve suffered physical or psychiatric injuries caused by a dangerous or careless driver, this guide could help you. In addition to this, we’ll explore the compensation you could be awarded in terms of general and special damages.

Careless driving vs dangerous driving guide

Careless driving vs dangerous driving guide

We understand the process of making a personal injury claim for a road traffic accident can be daunting. For this reason, we’ve aimed to provide information on the different stages of building a strong case throughout our guide.

Furthermore, we’ll explore the options of accessing legal representation that may be available to you. For instance, we’ll examine how a No Win No Fee solicitor could help you avoid the upfront costs usually associated with legal representation. 

Get In Touch With Our Team

Even after reading the information provided in our guide, we expect that you may have questions regarding personal injury compensation. Alternatively, you may wish you get the process of claiming started today. If so, you can get in touch with a member of our team on the following:

  • Phone number 020 3870 4868
  • By filling out the call-back request form, an advisor can ring you at your chosen time
  • Get instant help and advice from an advisor by chatting on live chat

Alternatively, continue reading for further details on the causes of road traffic accidents.

Services And Information

  1. Dangerous Driving vs Careless Driving
  2. When Is Driving Considered Careless?
  3. Examples Of Dangerous Driving
  4. Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving – How Do They Differ?
  5. Careless and Dangerous Driving Accident – How Much Can I Claim?
  6. Dangerous Driving Causing Death
  7. What Are The Penalties For Dangerous Or Careless Driving?
  8. How Long Do You Have To Make A Car Accident Claim?
  9. How Do I Prove Negligent Driving?
  10. No Win No Fee Personal Injury Solicitors
  11. Useful Pages

Dangerous Driving vs Careless Driving

Drivers are expected to drive in a way that prevents themselves and other road users from suffering harm. Failing to do so could result in accidents that cause fatal or serious injuries, such as:

  • Severe head injuries, e.g. brain damage 
  • Spinal cord damage leading to paralysis 
  • Compound or open fractures causing long term issues 

Each road user has a duty of care to act in a way that prevents others on the road from being harmed. 

Some examples of the duty of care different categories of road users have to one another as found in the Highway Code include:

  • Pedestrians should ensure they cross the road at designated pedestrian crossings to avoid a pedestrian accident.
  • Cyclists should ensure they wear high visibility clothing and signal when they change directions 
  • Anyone operating a motorcycle should not carry more than one pillion passenger
  • Drivers should not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Some kinds of road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, are classified as vulnerable road users compared to drivers. This means that they are at more risk of injury in an accident than those who have the protection of a vehicle. Drivers should be aware of this increased vulnerability and act accordingly.  

If you’d like to know more about careless driving vs dangerous driving, why not speak to a member of our team today? One of our advisors will be happy to offer you free legal advice.

When Is Driving Considered Careless?

Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 defines careless driving as driving that falls below the expected standard of a competent and careful driver. Specifically, a driver may be considered careless or negligent if their driving is not considerate of other road users and their safety.

Examples of careless driving and actions include:

  • Driving too close to another vehicle
  • Switching lanes inappropriately to try to overtake other road users
  • Being distracted whilst driving
  • Unnecessary braking

We look further at the definition of dangerous driving and examples related to it below, but please reach out to one of our advisers if you have any questions regarding careless driving claims.

Examples Of Dangerous Driving

Negligent or careless driving could lead to the injury of other road users or the drivers themselves. However, you may be confused as to what could be described as negligent driving. Any breach of a road user’s duty of care could be grounds for a claim if you’re injured as a result.

Here are a few examples of dangerous driving that could lead to you making a claim:

  • Exceeding the speed limit – Different roads will have different speed limits. By exceeding these, a driver can increase the risk of causing an accident.
  • Driving under the influence – Drugs and alcohol can lower reaction times as well as have other negative effects on a driver’s ability and actions.
  • Travelling in an unroadworthy vehicle – If a driver is aware that their car is in need of repair, then driving it can be ill-advised until said repairs can be carried out.
  • Distractions – For instance, the driver may be eating or drinking at the wheel, or using a device such as a phone.

For more examples or more information on negligence in general, get in touch with our advisors today.

Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving – How Do They Differ?

Careless driving and dangerous driving both involve road conduct that falls below what is expected of a competent driver. The thing that distinguishes them is how far below the expected standard their driving falls. Careless driving may be driving that falls just below the expected standard, whereas dangerous driving falls far below it.

When determining whether a driver has been dangerous or careless in their road use, the individual circumstances of the case will be considered. For instance, the weather conditions, amount of traffic on the road and visibility will all be taken into account when determining if a driver acted dangerously.

Dangerous driving does not just cover your conduct on the road. You can also be found guilty of dangerous driving if your vehicle has a known defect that could make it dangerous to drive.

Careless and Dangerous Driving Accident – How Much Can I Claim?

Whether the other driver’s actions are found to be dangerous, negligent or careless, you could claim compensation for your injuries if they are deemed liable for the accident

Because compensation is assessed on a claim by claim basis, we cannot provide you with a fixed or guaranteed figure for what you will receive for your injuries. What we can show you is how compensation is typically calculated and provide with you with information taken from the resource that legal professionals typically use to value claims – the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).

The table below features compensation figures from the latest publication of the JCG, released in 2022.

Injury type Further comments Compensation Award
Quadriplegia Multiple factors will be considered when deciding the award for this injury such as life expectancy, level of pain, affect on communication and senses. £324,600 to £403,600
Very severe brain damage This will include cases where the person needs full time care and their quality of life will be severely affected. £282,010 to £403,990
Chest A traumatic chest injury that causes permanent damage and reduces the person’s life expectancy. £65,740 to £100,670
Severe neck injury (ii) Injuries such as cervical spine damage £65,740 to £130,930
Severe back injury (ii) Injuries such as damage to the nerve root £74,160 to £88,430
Leg amputation (i) Where both legs have been lost above the knee, or one high above the knee and the other below the knee. £240,790 to £282,010
Severe leg injuries (i) Injuries of this nature won’t require amputation, but are so severe that the award brackets may be similar. £96,250 to £135,920
Ankle injury Severe injuries that require extensive treatment where the injured person is in plaster or where pins and plates have been inserted. £31,310 to £50,060
Amputation of one foot Injuries of this nature are valued in a similar way to below-knee amputations, as the ankle joint is lost. £83,960 to £109,650
Jaw fracture These kinds of fractures will be very serious and followed by a prolonged treatment period. £30,490 to £45,540

Other Settlements For Injuries Caused By Negligent Driving

In the previous section, we discussed general damages. This head of claim is awarded to compensate for the pain, suffering or loss of amenity caused by the injuries you sustained following a crash caused by negligent driving.

In addition, you may also be awarded special damages. This head of claim covers financial losses or expenses incurred directly due to your road traffic accident.

Special damages might be awarded if:

  • You have taken time off work to recover from your injuries, resulting in a loss of earnings. As long as you can provide evidence of this loss, such as a wage slip, you may be compensated.
  • You have had to pay for medication to alleviate the symptoms of your injuries. Make sure to retain a receipt of your prescription as proof of this loss.
  • Adaptations have been made to your home to accommodate your injuries. For example, if you have broken your foot, you may need a stair lift. Again, keep hold of receipts or invoices that can prove you have paid for home adaptations.

A road user causing serious injury by careless driving could result in you suffering financial harm. Get in touch and an expert road accident solicitor from our panel could assess what special damages you might be awarded. Additionally, they can discuss examples of dangerous driving payouts.

What Evidence Can Support My Negligent Driving Claim?

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s careless driving in the UK, you will need to gather evidence to help support your claim. Negligent driving can result in a variety of injuries. Therefore, it’s important to know how you can document them.

Here are some examples of evidence you could gather:

  • Visual footage – This could cover a few different pieces of evidence. For instance, your accident may have been captured by CCTV or by a dashcam. Additionally, it may prove useful to take photographs of any physical injuries.
  • Medical evidence – Your medical records will contain important information such as the treatment you received as a result of your injuries.
  • Witness contact details – If you have a way of getting in touch with those who saw how you were injured, then they could submit a written statement to help support your claim.

As well as negligence being a possible cause of a serious injury, dangerous driving can also result in injuries that cause financial loss. For instance, your earnings may be affected if you are left unable to work. Additionally, you may also have medical expenses to cover, such as prescription costs.

Make sure you have receipts, payslips, and other forms of evidence of these losses and expenditures in order to claim. Receiving reimbursement of these costs is known as a special damages payment.

Get in touch today for more information.

Dangerous Driving Causing Death

As well as serious injury, dangerous driving could also cause fatal accidents. For example, someone may suffer a fatal chest injury or brain damage as the result of another person’s dangerous driving.  

There are various ways dangerous driving could cause fatal accidents. For example, a driver who is intoxicated behind the wheel could lose control of their vehicle and cause the death of another driver or a vulnerable road user. 

If a family member or loved one has been killed by someone driving dangerously, you could make a claim on their behalf. For further details on this, you can speak to our team, and they can help you understand your rights and the process of claiming.

What Are The Penalties For Dangerous Or Careless Driving?

There are various penalties in place for dangerous driving. However, the nature of the penalty depends on the offence committed.

For instance, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) details some of the penalties for driving offences. 

They include:

  • Between one to fourteen years in prison, and/or an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving for a minimum of two years for causing death when driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Section 3A Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988)
  • Between one to fourteen years in prison and disqualification from driving for a minimum of two years for causing death by dangerous driving (Section 1 RTA 1988)
  • Up to 5 years in prison and disqualification from driving for a minimum of one year for causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving (Section 20 Road Safety Act 2006)

Some driving offences might result in you getting points on your license. If you build up 12 or more points within 3 years, then you could risk losing your license. If you’re a new driver, you could be disqualified if you build up 6 or more points within the first 2 years of driving. 

How Long Do You Have To Make A Car Accident Claim?

In most personal injury claims, you’ll be given three years from the date of the accident to put forward your claim. However, there are some exceptions that apply.

For example, anyone under the age of 18 will have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to submit their claim. As an alternative, someone with the child’s best interests in mind can apply to act as a litigation friend and claim on their behalf. This could be a parent, family friend or even a solicitor. 

This is similar for anyone lacking the mental capacity to claim themselves. In circumstances where the person recovers their mental capacity, the three years will start from the date they recover. However, if they never regain their mental capacity, the three years will be frozen indefinitely. While it’s frozen, a litigation friend can claim on behalf of them. 

If you require more details on the personal injury claims time limit, you can call our team on the number above. 

How Do I Prove Negligent Driving?

Dangerous driving vs careless driving doesn’t matter if you suffered harm due to negligent driving. However, supporting evidence is required. In car accident claims, claimants must prove that another road user owed them a duty of care and it was a breach of this that caused injuries.

Examples of dangerous driving, according to the police, include:

  • Speeding and racing.
  • Aggressive driving.
  • Disregarding traffic signals and road signs.
  • Dangerous overtaking.
  • Driving under the influence; this includes drink or drugs.
  • Driving while unfit, including being overly fatigued, having an injury or not being able to clearly see.
  • Knowing the vehicle is dangerous or has an unsafe load.

Both dangerous and careless driving could be considered negligent driving. Careless driving could include being too close to another vehicle or accidentally driving through a red light.

Call our advisors to find out more about car accident claims.

No Win No Fee Personal Injury Solicitors

Following an accident caused by a driving offence such as dangerous driving, lawyers could help you. However, we understand that you might be hesitant about using legal help if you are worried about financing one.

We recommend that you seek legal help on the basis of a No Win No Fee. Personal injury solicitors who work under a Conditional Fee Agreement, a type of No Win No Fee, generally require no upfront costs for you to begin using their services.

Your solicitor also deducts a success fee from your compensation – but only if your claim is successful. Furthermore, the percentage they would take is legally capped at 25%. If a claim was not successful, you wouldn’t have to pay your solicitor.

If you have any questions about claiming for a serious injury caused by dangerous driving, or how a No Win No Fee solicitor could help you, get in touch at any time.

Contact us today by: 

  • Calling 020 3870 4868
  • Using the call-back request form to choose when an advisor rings you
  • Chatting on live chat

Useful Pages

The Reported Road Casualties of Great Britain: Annual Report 2020 provides some useful information on different road accidents.

See the government guide on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The Whiplash Reform Programme provides information on changes that have been made to claims for whiplash injuries.

See our guide for more information on car accident claims.

If you were in a car accident and need information on how long you have to report it, our guide could help.

Were you hit by an uninsured driver? If so, our guide could help you understand the steps you need to take to seek compensation.

Thank you for reading our guide exploring careless driving vs dangerous driving. We hope you found it helpful.