Our overthrown devices

You're driving in the city. You look down to change the radio station. When you look up, you see the light turning red. It's too late; you're already in the intersection. Glancing in the rear view mirror, you see blue strobes. You receive a ticket for $100. It's a lousy day.

You're driving in the city. You look down to change the radio station. When you look up, you see the light turning red. It's too late; you're already in the intersection. There is a horrifying thump and a woman's body smacks the hood, splintering the windshield before being thrown into an adjacent parked car. She does not live long enough to make it to the hospital. Your name is in the papers, you're charged with a significant criminal offense that carries the threat of jail time, and the woman's family files suit against you for several million dollars. You face furious public condemnation, incarceration and lifelong poverty. 

In both cases, you performed exactly the same action with the same degree of negligence. The only difference between the outcomes was due to random circumstances that were entirely beyond your control - whether there happened to be someone entering the crosswalk. But in the law, and in human cognition, the outcomes of actions play a prominent role in how we perceive blame. 

It makes me want to write a story set in an environment where intention is the only factor evaluated by the legal system. I can imagine all sorts of interesting angles to how that would play out.