Reckless driving is negligent driving that can lead to a severe motor vehicle accident. Drivers must operate their vehicles carefully, safely, and prudently anytime they get behind the wheel. However, when drivers operate their vehicles recklessly or carelessly, they might not see another vehicle or a pedestrian in the vicinity. Similarly, they might not stop their cars in time to avoid a collision.
Reckless driving puts all other motor vehicle operators and passengers on the roadway at risk. Suppose you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that resulted from reckless driving. In that case, you should immediately seek follow-up medical care and treatment at a hospital, emergency room, or urgent care center. Your next step should be to contact a knowledgeable car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Your car accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances of the accident, determine how it occurred, and let you know if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim seeking damages. If you qualify to file a claim, your lawyer can promptly file it with the reckless driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer can then work to negotiate favorable settlement compensation for you.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you damages that fairly compensate you for your injuries, your car accident lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a conclusion. Your lawyer might take the case to trial or an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as mediation or binding arbitration.
What Is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is a form of negligence, and for a driver to be negligent, they must act unreasonably under the circumstances. This usually means that the driver does something that a reasonable driver would not do or that the driver fails to do something that a reasonable driver would do under the circumstances.
Reckless driving can take on a variety of forms. Some of the most common types of reckless driving maneuvers include speeding, failing to use a turn signal, cutting off a vehicle attempting to merge onto a highway or roadway, tailgating another vehicle, and quickly weaving in and out of busy highway traffic.
Drivers engage in reckless driving for many reasons. In some instances, they do not have the patience to deal with traffic. At other times, the reckless driver might be in a rush to get to their final destination, and they believe that speeding and zealously weaving in and out of traffic will get them there faster. However, these reckless driving maneuvers significantly increase the chances they will cause an accident with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
What Types of Car Accidents Can Result From Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving maneuvers can lead to several different types of car accidents. One of the most common accidents that result from reckless driving is a rear-end collision.
A rear-end collision happens when the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of a vehicle in front. These collisions typically occur when an overeager driver speeds or tailgates another vehicle. The force of a rear-end collision might cause the accident victim’s body to move forward and backward or from side to side in an abrupt manner, resulting in whiplash injuries and other soft tissue injuries.
Another type of motor vehicle accident resulting from reckless driving is a sideswipe accident. This type of accident occurs when the sides of two vehicles brush against or strike one another. The vehicles typically move in the same direction on a busy, multilane highway.
These accidents are common when a reckless driver is not paying attention to the road or when the driver aggressively weaves in and out of traffic without using the proper turn signal. A sideswipe collision can force a vehicle off the road entirely or into another lane of travel, creating a massive pile-up collision.
Reckless driving can also lead to a T-bone accident or broadside collision, where the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle moving in a different direction. These types of accidents are widespread at busy traffic intersections. They often occur when a reckless driver is in a hurry and tries to beat a yellow or red light, racing through the intersection and colliding with a vehicle that has the green light in the opposite direction.
When these accidents occur with significant force, the vehicle on the receiving end might spin around rapidly or completely overturn in the middle of the intersection, resulting in severe injuries and sometimes fatalities.
Finally, reckless driving can lead to a head-on collision, where the front of one vehicle collides with the front of another vehicle. For example, the reckless driver might try to pass another vehicle on a double line, failing to see an oncoming car traveling in the opposite direction and striking it head-on. When these types of accidents happen, they can lead to fatalities, especially if the vehicles are moving at higher rates of speed.
Suppose you have suffered injuries in a reckless driving accident. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can explain your options and help you decide on the best course of action for moving forward.
Injuries in Reckless Driving Cases
Injuries in reckless driving cases are frequently severe and sometimes fatal. An accident victim’s injuries depend on the type of collision, the force of the impact (including the speeds of the involved vehicles), and how the accident victim’s body moves in the car from the impact.
Potential injuries that result from reckless driving collisions include soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains, whiplash injuries, broken bones, traumatic brain or head injuries, spinal cord damage, internal injuries, and death.
If you have suffered one or more of these injuries in a motor vehicle crash due to reckless driving, you should speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer right away. Your lawyer can begin advocating for you even while completing all of your medical treatment.
Specifically, your injury lawyer can start to gather up all of your medical records, lost wage statements, photographs, and other documents, and prepare a demand package they can file with the insurance company on your behalf.
While your accident lawyer takes care of all of the legal aspects of your car accident claim, you can focus your attention on getting the medical treatment you require for your injuries.
The Burden of Proof in a Reckless Driving Accident Case
In reckless driving car accident cases, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof. Specifically, the accident victim must show that the at-fault driver behaved unreasonably and negligently under the circumstances and caused the accident. Moreover, the accident victim must show they suffered at least one injury in the accident. It can be difficult to tell precisely how the accident occurred and who caused it in some instances.
When that happens, the accident victim’s lawyer may need to retain an accident reconstructionist or another expert such as an engineer to piece together what happened during the occurrence. Specifically, an accident reconstructionist can speak to eyewitnesses, look at photographs of the scene and the property damage, and determine how the collision occurred.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you prove the legal elements of your claim and work to get you the compensation you deserve for all of the injuries you suffered in the collision.
Filing a Car Accident Claim After a Reckless Driving Accident
Victims of reckless driving accidents can pursue a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for damages. The claims filing process starts when a lawyer drafts a formal demand letter which makes a monetary demand for settlement.
The accident victim’s lawyer can also submit essential documents, including medical records, lost wage statements, photographs, and other evidence that the insurance company can use to evaluate the case. Once the insurance company accepts fault for the accident, they will make an offer, and the accident victim’s lawyer can negotiate with them.
In most cases, initial settlement offers by insurance company adjusters far undervalue the case. Therefore, it will usually take several rounds of negotiations before the insurance company comes up with a reasonable offer that fairly compensates the accident victim for their injuries.
At other times, the insurance company may not offer full and fair compensation. When that happens, the accident victim’s lawyer can file a lawsuit on the accident victim’s behalf and litigate the case in the court system. The case may not need to go all the way to trial, and it can settle at any point along the way. In fact, the significant majority of cases get settled before trial. If the case does have to go to trial or mediation or arbitration, the accident victim’s lawyer can represent the accident victim and aggressively advocate for them in court.
Recovering Monetary Compensation and Damages in a Reckless Driving Case
Victims of reckless driving car accidents often have to endure a lot. They may need to go to the hospital for the injuries which they suffered in their accident and undergo intrusive medical procedures. They may also need to attend physical therapy sessions over a significant amount of time.
The monetary compensation in damages that a reckless driving accident victim can recover will depend on several factors. Those factors include the nature and extent of the injuries, whether or not they suffered a permanent injury, the medical treatment they had to undergo, and the inconvenience of that medical treatment. Generally speaking, the more significant the injuries and the more costly the accident victim’s losses, the more compensation they may recover.
Victims of reckless driving car accidents can pursue compensation for their out-of-pocket costs and lost income. If they were injured so severely they can not return to the same job or occupation, they can assert a claim for loss of earning capacity. In addition, they can recover compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of spousal support, and lost quality of life.
Regarding pain and suffering damages, accident victims can recover compensation for their pain and suffering in the past and future. For example, if the accident victim suffered a permanent injury in their accident, they may be expected to experience symptoms for the remainder of their life.
When pursuing and recovering the maximum amount of damages in your reckless driving case, you want a knowledgeable car accident lawyer on board. Your lawyer can advocate for you and your legal interests and work to recover the compensation you deserve through your car accident claim or lawsuit.
Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
Reckless driving accidents can lead to severe injuries—some of which can wind up permanent. If you or a person you care about suffered injuries in a reckless driving car accident, you deserve to recover compensation not only for your lost earnings and other out-of-pocket costs but also for the suffering, pain, and inconvenience you endured from your injuries. A skilled car accident lawyer can help you pursue the damages you need for you to be whole again.
Your injury lawyer can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, negotiate on your behalf, and, if necessary, litigate your case in court to a conclusion. No one should navigate this process without the right legal help – especially with serious injuries and other stress. If you file a claim without a car accident lawyer, you risk getting much less than you deserve or receiving a claim denial.