When drivers operate their vehicles recklessly or aggressively, they risk putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Reckless driving can cause property damage, resulting in injuries, and even cause death in severe cases. According to the National Highway of Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 30 percent of all car accidents involve reckless driving. There are many examples of reckless driving, such as excessive speeding, driving under the influence, or texting. No one should suffer due to another driver’s negligence; a car accident attorney with extensive experience can recover the compensation victims of reckless driving need to cover their losses.
What Exactly is Reckless Driving?
A reckless driver drives with a willful disregard for the safety or property of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Several different behaviors and poor decisions can legally be considered reckless driving. Examples of reckless driving include:
- Driving while under the influence.
- Failing to pay attention to the road.
- Committing a traffic infraction.
In some cases, a reckless driver will commit multiple violations. Experienced personal injury lawyers can help you protect your legal rights and recover full compensation for your injuries and damages. Some examples of reckless driving are:
- Distracted driving
- Sudden braking
- Making illegal turns
- Street Racing
- Changing lanes incorrectly
- Passing on the wrong side of the road
- Running a stop sign
- Running a red light
- Failing to watch the road
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Failing to use turn signals
- Failing to watch the road
If you or a loved one has endured injuries or damages in an accident because of the actions of a reckless driver, you have a right to seek compensation from the negligent driver. A car accident lawyer gives your case the best chance of a successful outcome.
What Are Some Common Reckless Driving Behaviors That Lead to Accidents?
Here are some of the most common examples of reckless driving behaviors that cause motor vehicle collisions:
- Speeding: Following speed limits keeps all drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians safe. When drivers behave recklessly and ignore the speed limit, they endanger themselves and everyone else. In some situations, like when it rains, for instance, drivers should exercise reasonable care by slowing down despite the speed limit.
- Tailgating: When a vehicle trails a few feet behind your car and you brake abruptly, it can cause serious injuries or lead to fatalities in severe cases.
- Lane-splitting: Attempting to bypass traffic by driving down the breakdown lane or squeezing in between lanes of traffic will typically lead to an accident. When other drivers don’t expect to see a vehicle coming down those lanes, they can turn into their path, causing a devastating crash.
- Impaired driving: A driver’s behavior may be characterized as reckless if they consume alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel. Driver impairment that results from fatigue taking medication or an underlying health condition may also be considered reckless behavior that threatens the safety of all persons sharing the road.
- Weaving in and out of traffic: Weaving through traffic is often accompanied by speeding or without signaling. These rapid and reckless lane changes can catch other motorists off guard leading to a motor vehicle crash.
While most types of driving behavior under the right circumstances can constitute reckless driving, hiring an auto accident attorney is the best way to determine if you should file a lawsuit against a reckless driver. Knowledgeable le car accident lawyers have the experience to seek compensation to cover the cost of your injuries and any losses you’ve sustained.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
After being involved in an accident with a reckless driver, you are probably unsure what to do next. The first step you should take is to ensure that neither you nor any of your passengers have sustained any injuries. If anyone requires medical attention, you should call an ambulance and refrain from moving anyone who reports back neck pain or is unconscious. When a car accident victim is in imminent danger because of oncoming traffic, you should move them to safety right away. Call the police if there was substantial property damage, any deaths, or serious injuries. You can request a copy of your accident report by calling the police. Requesting the name and badge number of the responding officer at the accident scene will allow you to access your accident report more quickly. Here are some steps to take after a motor vehicle crash:
- Capture photos of the accident scene
- Retrieve information from all persons involved, including pictures of driver’s licenses and insurance cards
- Takes videos or photographs of all vehicles, including any visible damages and their license plates
- Collect information from witnesses such as phone numbers or addresses
- Seek medical attention even if you don’t believe you’ve sustained any serious or life-treating injuries
- Take photos of your injuries
What You Shouldn’t Do After a Car Accident
Never apologize or admit any degree of fault after an accident. Doing so can communicate to the other driver that you assume liability for the accident. Remain cooperative and courteous with anyone involved in the collision. Refrain from speaking with anyone representing the at-fault party’s insurance company. Don’t give any reordered statements, especially to an insurance adjuster who can use your words against you in your claim. Remember that the at-fault insurance company only has their interest in mind. Insurance companies pay adjusters to represent the person who injured you, which is why they often give low-ball settlement offers to victims of car crashes. Don’t make the mistake of representing yourself in a reckless driving accident case. Instead, you should reach out to a car accident lawyer for a case review. Be proactive in collecting evidence and promptly responding to your attorney.
What’s the Difference Between Negligent And Reckless Driving?
All drivers must exercise reasonable care when they get behind the wheel. Paying attention to the road and your surroundings is an example of upholding your duty of care while driving; this will help you avoid causing harm to pedestrians, other drivers, or damage to vehicles. A driver’s actions may be characterized as negligent when they fail to uphold their duty of care. Driving may be described as reckless when a driver consciously or intentionally displays a disregard for the safety of others or their property. When a driver reflects an indifference concerning the potentially dangerous consequences of their actions, this can also be considered reckless driving and be punishable as a crime. The most significant difference between a negligent driver and a reckless driver is that a negligent driver does not mean for an accident to happen, while reckless driving involves a conscious decision. In some cases, a driver’s reckless actions may show that they cared nothing about possibly causing severe injury to others or extensive damage.
Injuries That Can Result From Reckless Driving
The list of injuries reckless or aggressive drivers cause is seemingly endless. What these accidents often share is that they are typically preventable. Some common injuries that result from reckless driving accidents include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Skull injuries
- Facial fractures
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Bone fractures
- Chest injuries
- Fractured skull
- Chronic pain
- Knee injuries
Injuries that result from an accident where a reckless driver is involved are often catastrophic and can leave victims with financial uncertainty. If the victim of a car crash sustains injuries and is the breadwinner of their family, it is hard to figure out how to continue providing support. Having your vehicle in the repair shop will only make the situation additionally stressful.
What Types of Compensation Are Available in Reckless Accident Cases?
Because every car accident is unique, the amount and types of compensation you may stand to receive will depend on the circumstances of your case. Compensation for losses sustained in reckless driving cases falls into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages may include:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Cost of home and health aides
- Cost of medical equipment
- Property damage
- Future medical expenses
- Future lost wages
- Funeral costs
Examples of non-economic damages are:
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
If you want to find out more about how to hold a reckless driver responsible for a car accident, get in contact with a car accident lawyer who can describe the sanctions available in your claim.
Proving Liability in a Reckless Car Accident Case
When the insurance company fails to provide a fair settlement amount to the victim of a car accident claim, the victim may consider pursuing a car accident lawsuit instead. If you were injured in a motor vehicle crash and did not receive an offer for compensation that you believe you deserve, speak with a car accident lawyer. Proving liability is essential in obtaining compensation for a car accident claim from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. An attorney can advise you on the next steps you should take in your claim and build a strong defense on your behalf. Some elements a victim of a car accident claim must prove are:
- The reckless or at-fault driver breached a duty of care by failing to operate their vehicle safely.
- The at-fault driver or defendant’s actions were directly responsible for the accident.
- The accident resulted in injuries or monetary losses to the plaintiff or car accident victim.
Lawsuit For Reckless Driving Cases
Reckless driving puts the safety of other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians on the road at risk. A reckless driving conviction will generally result in fines of up to $1,000, imprisonment, or both. While driving under the influence, some penalties may include a suspended license, criminal charges, and potentially a civil lawsuit. If a driver who faced criminal charges but was acquitted injured you, you can still pursue compensation for your injuries. Careless driving is a momentary slip-up in judgment or attention. To prove that the at-fault driver acted recklessly during the accident, you must show they had a conscious disregard for their duty of care. Doing this in a reckless driving case often proves difficult and time-consuming. Evidence collected from eyewitnesses, police reports, and traffic camera footage will give you the best chance of building a solid case against a reckless driver. Suppose you or a loved one has suffered injuries or sustained damages due to another driver’s reckless behavior. In that case, you may consider hiring a personal injury lawyer who can file a lawsuit on your behalf. For cases where a loved one dies in a car accident where a reckless driver is involved, you may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Reckless Driving FAQs
How can I fight a reckless driving ticket?
When you face charges for driving recklessly, it isn’t as simple as receiving a ticket. You can face criminal charges and receive jail time in some cases. Even if you aren’t facing serious consequences like jail time, a criminal conviction on your record can make it difficult to secure opportunities in the future.
If I didn’t answer the officer’s questions or make a statement, will this hurt my case?
Refusing to incriminate yourself by refraining from making a statement to the responding officer is okay. You have the right to refuse to make a statement, and if your case goes to trial, the prosecutor cannot mention that you refused to answer any questions.
What is the definition of a “wanton disregard for safety”?
When a person is aware that a particular action will bring significant risk to others and ignores this potential for harm anyway, their actions are a “wanton disregard for safety. “If a person is speeding, for example, but there are no other vehicles around, the motorist will likely only be found guilty of speeding. A motorist that speeds during rush hour and dangerously weaves in and out of traffic may be considered a reckless driver.
What are some potential penalties for a reckless driving conviction?
A reckless driving conviction can result in a misdemeanor charge and up to 90 days in county jail. Penalties for a reckless driving conviction may also include fines of up to $1,000. If a motorist injures someone while engaging in this behavior, they might also face up to a year in jail. That won’t compensate you for your injuries, however. For that, you need to file a civil claim with help from a car accident lawyer.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Case Today
The insurance company isn’t on your side. It is in the business of making a profit, which is why you should never deal with a tricky adjuster on your own. If you were in an accident with a reckless or aggressive driver, seek sound advice from a car accident lawyer with the right experience. Filing a lawsuit against a reckless driver can feel scary. The good news is you won’t have to handle your case on your own. Before dealing with the insurance company on your own, talk to a lawyer who can provide you with advice that serves your best interests.