Most motorists nationwide adhere to traffic rules, drive safely, and get to their destinations without incident. However, there are also reckless drivers who do not observe safety laws and cause serious harm to innocent people. As an injured accident victim, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and must speak with a reckless driving injury lawyer near you immediately.
Reckless driving is a conscious act, and drivers cannot blame anyone but themselves. Many behaviors constitute reckless driving, but the laws surrounding these actions are complex. In the event of a car accident caused by reckless driving, it’s important to seek the help of a car accident lawyer who can assist you in seeking compensation for damages and injuries sustained. Your attorney can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.
Willful and wanton describe reckless driving collisions. Willful means the person intentionally and knowingly participated in the action. Wanton means the driver had a conscious and intentional indifference to the consequences of their reckless actions. Reckless driving also involves purposely participating in negligent acts knowing they will likely result in injuries and damages.
Reckless driving by speeding is widespread but also very complicated. While speed alone does not constitute reckless driving, it contributes. In some states, excessive speeding is sufficient for a reckless driving allegation. Some places will look at speeds like 90 mph, while others review how many miles are over the limit. Going 20 miles over the limit can constitute reckless driving but go five miles over is a regular speeding ticket. When speeding is excessive, motorists can easily cause devastating injuries.
Reckless drivers will often combine speeding and other dangerous actions like weaving in and out of traffic.
Speeding is one factor, but for a reckless driving infraction, police will often consider speed plus:
The faster a vehicle travels, the worse the injuries might be. Drivers cannot react in time, and if they commit another violation in combination with speeding, the results can kill someone.
There are stark differences between careless and reckless driving, even though people often use the terms interchangeably. The critical difference is that careless driving is unintentional, like falling asleep at the wheel, while reckless driving is intentional. The penalties for each are different, and so are the outcomes. You can be struck by a driver participating in either action and suffer injuries and losses. The only difference is how their driving led to the crash and how liability takes shape.
As an accident victim, your concern is what happens to you and how you get compensation. When an injury occurs, the state will increase its criminal penalties, often requiring steep fines and jail time. When a death occurs, jail time is mandatory. However, the criminal system does little to help you as a victim.
You must take legal action to seek compensation. The reckless or careless driver should have insurance, and their insurer should pay for their losses. However, since these issues are contentious, you must have a car accident lawyer who can fight for your money.
After a reckless driving crash, the driver will face many penalties for their actions. As an injury victim, you can file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation, which is one penalty they will face. However, these drivers will face many other penalties, from a criminal standpoint and personal ones.
Consequences for reckless driving include:
Additional penalties can result depending on the driver’s residence and if there was an injury or death.
When a CDL driver engages in reckless driving, they can lose their CDL license, which is necessary for their employment. Drivers with this license have a higher responsibility than others on the road because they operate large trucks. When they drive recklessly, they endanger hundreds of lives, which is unacceptable. Commercial truck drivers should never participate in reckless actions. If they cause injuries in a truck accident, victims should receive full compensation under the law.
Reckless driving involves many negligent actions, but some cause more accidents than others:
When a driver engages in any of these crashes, they must take responsibility for their actions. Reckless driving accidents are preventable, and the law punishes reckless drivers in criminal and civil ways.
Always hire a car accident lawyer to recover compensation for medical treatment and more when you suffer a preventable injury. Many reckless driving accidents result in severe injuries that lead to expenses and pain for months or years.
Reckless drivers cause injuries like:
These accidents can also result in permanent injuries, but you must discuss your injury severity with your medical team and car accident lawyer. You need legal and medical opinions to determine how your injury will impact your life and how much your injury is worth.
Reckless driving accidents have lifelong effects on victims that many people overlook. The initial injury is only one element of your suffering.
Some chronic issues from reckless driving accidents include:
Chronic pain and suffering also make your future challenging. You can feel fine one day and cannot get out of bed the next. Reckless driving accidents have a slew of lifelong impacts on victims, and they have important rights to compensation for these challenges.
Depending on your state, reckless driving can be a traffic infraction or a criminal offense. When you file a compensation claim, you are taking civil action. The criminal case outcome does not have a direct bearing on your civil lawsuit, but a conviction can help you prove liability.
Car accident attorneys can use a criminal infraction for reckless driving as evidence in your civil case. Lack of a criminal conviction will not necessarily hinder your recovery efforts. Your lawyer can still pursue a civil case even without a criminal case against the driver.
Many accident victims assume that if the driver receives a ticket, proving negligence is straightforward, but that is not always correct. A conviction can help your case, but your car accident lawyer must work diligently to get enough evidence that supports your claim.
The four elements of negligence are:
Your attorney must prove each element, which can involve hiring expert witnesses, finding videos and pictures of the scene, gathering police and medical reports, and more.
Injury victims of reckless driving accidents deserve justice for their losses. They must garner compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance company to cover current and future losses.
Damages you can recover depend on individual factors and the facts of your case.
When you suffer significant injuries, the driver’s insurance company should provide payment for losses you incur, like:
The settlements and awards for reckless driving are often enhanced value cases resulting in substantial compensation. All car accident claims involve negligence or blame, but reckless driving is aggravated conduct and is, therefore, more complex and serious. This can result in higher compensation for some victims.
Rare cases can result in punitive damage awards, which are only available when the driver was reckless, egregious, and reprehensible. Your car accident lawyer must prove the offender acted with moral turpitude, malice, or reckless indifference for the safety and well-being of others to seek punitive damages.
Simple negligence does not qualify for punitive damages.
Examples of malicious behavior that can result in punitive damages are:
Other factors can result in punitive damages, but these awards aim to punish the offender and not compensate the victim for losses. Since it is a punishment, the court can consider their financial situation before determining the amount to award.
Many states have caps on punitive damages around three times compensatory damages. Your lawyer must request and prove your entitlement to punitive damages to access these funds.
While the fair and just thing to do is for the insurance company to pay for the losses stemming from your reckless driving accident, that is rarely how things work out. You require fair and reasonable compensation to become whole again, but the insurance company wants to save money.
Accident victims must refrain from independently dealing with insurance companies, defense lawyers, and other interested parties. Your injuries do not matter to them, but they matter to your car accident attorney.
The insurance companies intentionally make the claim process challenging, so victims become overwhelmed, lose track of deadlines, give up, and settle for less. However, insurance companies change their tone when they realize the victim has a lawyer representing their best interests. Avoid letting the insurance company decide your case’s worth and bully you into a low settlement. Instead, speak to local car accident lawyers.
Human error accounts for most car accidents, but there is a difference between miscalculating a maneuver and intentional reckless driving. Liability can be contentious in reckless driving accident claims, and you must have a car accident lawyer who can sift through all the red tape and get you the compensation you require for your losses.
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