There are many reasons for the high number of car crashes that occur on America’s roads every year. Many of those accidents can be attributed to carelessness or simple mistakes, but there is one common cause that is responsible for a high number of crashes, and that is reckless driving. When someone drives recklessly, they don’t just put themselves in danger, they put everyone else on the road in peril as well. That doesn’t just mean other drivers, it also applies to pedestrians and cyclists as well.
If someone gets into a car accident that was caused by a reckless driver, then they are eligible to get compensation to take care of their accident-related expenses. Those expenses include medical bills for injuries sustained, repair bills for their damaged vehicle, and lost wages due to being unable to work. Victims of car accidents caused by reckless driving will need to hire an attorney to help them file a personal injury claim and get the maximum compensation that they need.
What is Reckless Driving?
The legal definition of reckless driving is driving with a wilful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. This does not mean that the driver intended to hurt someone else or cause an accident, rather it means that they engaged in actions that they knew were dangerous and that a reasonable person realizes could cause harm to others. Reckless driving is a broad umbrella that covers many different types of driving behaviours including the following:
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Driving while fatigued
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Aggressively cutting off other drivers
- Driving on the road shoulder or median
- Street racing
None of these actions are meant to intentionally hurt other people but it is easy to see how they could end up doing so nonetheless. The actions in this list are widely considered to be reckless driving across the country, but some states have other actions that can also be classified as reckless driving. For example, in Florida trying to escape from the police is also considered to be reckless driving.
The Penalties for Reckless Driving
The penalties and punishments for reckless driving vary from state to state, but they are all very serious and can have lasting consequences on the driver’s life and their driving record. In Florida, reckless drivers face up to ninety days in jail and a maximum fine of $500 for their first offense. Subsequent offenders could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $5000. The charges get even more serious if the driver causes damage to property or injury to another person.
If the driver causes damage to another person’s property, then the charge of reckless driving is upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $1000. An injury to someone results in the reckless driving charge becoming a first degree felony, which is punishable by up to thirty years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. However, fines and jail time are not the only consequences of reckless driving because that charge will put four points on the licence of the reckless driver. That can cause their insurance rates to rise to the point where it becomes unaffordable.
Contact an Attorney If You Have Been in a Reckless Driving Accident
Anyone who has been in an accident that was caused by a reckless driver should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as they are able to. The reason is that they are eligible to file a personal injury claim in order to receive the compensation that they need. The victim will need an attorney because the insurance company of the reckless driver will try to offer the least amount of compensation possible. An attorney will be able to negotiate with the insurance company to make sure that the victim gets a fair settlement. So if you have been in an accident that was caused by a reckless driver, be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible.