People engage in reckless driving when they disregard the safety of themselves and everyone else around them. Examples of reckless driving include excessive speeding, tailgating, drag racing, weaving in and out of traffic, driving while intoxicated, failing to pay attention to the road, and running red lights or stop signs.
When someone around you drives recklessly, your chances of getting into an accident increase dramatically. If you sustained injuries because of a reckless driver’s actions, you have a legal right to seek compensation. A car accident attorney can guide you through the legal process and help you file a claim against the driver who caused your injuries.
Actions Considered as Reckless Driving
Every state has reckless driving laws that all citizens must abide by. Reckless driving comes in many forms. Any time someone engages in reckless driving, they put themselves and others at risk. Therefore, those who sustain injuries can hold them accountable by filing a claim.
Actions considered as reckless driving include:
Excessive speeding endangers not only the person driving the vehicle but everyone else around them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding accidents recently killed over 11,200 people in the United States in one year alone.
The consequences of excessive speeding include:
- A higher risk of losing control of the vehicle
- Less effective occupant protection equipment if a wreck occurs
- Less available stopping distance if the driver tries to avoid a collision
- Increased severity of the crash and any injuries that follow
People often speed on roads and highways when they run late or simply want to get somewhere faster. Unfortunately, a driver chooses to engage in this activity, they can hurt themselves and others around them. If you sustained injuries because of another driver’s excessive speeding, an attorney can help you.
Tailgating occurs when a driver follows the car in front of them too closely. Most states have laws in place that require drivers to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. If someone tailgates you, they could rear-end the back of your vehicle, especially if you have to stop or turn suddenly.
Typically, when someone gets rear-ended, the fault falls on the person in the vehicle behind the other. However, if you get into an accident that involves tailgating, you should still try to identify witnesses on the scene so they can corroborate your version of events.
Many people view drag racing as a fun, exciting activity. But unfortunately, drag racing can cause an accident in the blink of an eye. It also puts anyone near these drivers in danger. Typically, drag racers engage in many reckless driving actions at once, such as speeding, ignoring red lights, and weaving in and out of traffic.
If a drag racer caused your accident and injuries, they may not only face criminal punishments, but you could file a civil claim against them.
Weaving in and out of Traffic
Weaving in and out of traffic can negatively impact all other drivers on the road, who often have to slam on their brakes or make quick lane changes to avoid getting hit. People typically weave in and out of traffic so they can get around slower drivers. However, they put everyone else around them in danger, all so they can travel faster.
If someone caused your accident and injuries by recklessly weaving in and out of traffic, liability may fall on them. An attorney can help you file a claim against the at-fault driver for compensation.
Driving While Intoxicated
Drinking alcohol or using drugs and then getting behind the wheel can have devastating consequences. Because of this, driving while intoxicated is often considered as a form of reckless driving. In most states, a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above 0.08 percent is considered legally intoxicated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a BAC level of:
- 0.08 percent means difficulty controlling their speed and processing information.
- 0.10 percent means slower reaction times and difficulty staying in their lane. Their ability to brake when needed also lowers.
- 0.15 percent means the driver would likely feel very intoxicated. They could have major difficulty focusing on driving and controlling their vehicle.
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, you could file a claim against them. On top of your civil claim, the at-fault driver will also likely face criminal charges.
Failing to Pay Attention to the Road
Another form of reckless driving behavior includes driving while distracted. When a driver does not pay full attention to the road, they could cause accidents.
Distracted driving includes:
- Texting: Texting not only takes a driver’s eyes off the road, but it also takes at least one hand off the wheel. Drivers often think it’s safe to look at their phones while driving—in reality, it’s not.
- Talking on the phone: Talking on the phone often causes cognitive distraction, meaning the driver is fully focused on the road. Many states legally allow drivers to talk on the phone hands-free, but doing so can still take their attention off the road enough to cause an accident.
- Eating: When a driver eats while in control of a vehicle, they limit their ability to make quick decisions if a road hazard arises. Typically, the driver only has the use of one hand when eating. They may also pay more attention to their food than the road in front of them, especially if they spill.
- Grooming: If a driver doesn’t have time to finish getting ready at home, they might groom themselves while driving. Whether they brush their hair or put on makeup, they could take their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel long enough to cause an accident.
Drivers who drive while distracted purposefully engage in these behaviors. You could hold them accountable for causing your injuries by filing a claim.
Running Red Lights or Stop Signs
Some reckless drivers completely ignore red lights or stop signs. This behavior could easily cause a T-bone accident if another car comes through the intersection from another direction simultaneously. Unfortunately, people commonly run through red lights or stop signs when they are late or want to get somewhere faster.
If you sustain injuries due to this form of reckless driving, you could file a claim against the liable party. In some cases, an attorney can review traffic camera footage to prove the at-fault driver ran the red light or stop sign.
Other Ways an Attorney Can Help After a Reckless Driving Accident
When you sustain injuries in an accident caused by reckless driving, an attorney can provide you with legal guidance and support from start to finish. Reckless driving accidents often can cause complex legal issues to arise. But with an attorney fighting for you, you can navigate those issues far more easily.
Attorneys also provide invaluable advice throughout your case, guiding you on whether to accept a settlement offer or continue fighting for more compensation.
Other ways that an attorney can assist you through a reckless driving accident case include:
- They can handle all phone calls and other communication with the insurance company. The insurance company involved may contact you and encourage you to accept an early settlement offer. They typically offer less money than they are willing to pay in hopes that you will settle quickly. With an attorney handling these communications, you can ensure that you don’t accept a lower offer than you deserve.
- They can investigate your accident and prove the other driver’s reckless actions caused your injuries. Without a proper investigation, you might have difficulty proving that the reckless driver caused your injuries. An attorney can review the police report, speak to witnesses, and request video surveillance footage that might have caught the accident on camera.
- They can build a case against the at-fault driver based on evidence collected during the investigation. If a reckless driver acted negligently and caused your injuries, they should have to pay for their negligence by compensating you for your losses. An attorney can present the best possible case on your behalf.
- They can calculate how much compensation to seek for your injuries by identifying your recoverable damages. When an attorney identifies your damages and provides proof that you sustained those damages, you have a better chance of getting fair compensation from the liable party.
- After thoroughly investigating the claim, they can send a demand letter to the liable party asking them to pay your damages. In this letter, the attorney will include the facts of your accident and provide evidence that the at-fault driver caused your damages.
- They can use their strong negotiation skills to fight for a fair settlement on your behalf. While you could try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own, attorneys know the tactics these companies often use to trick people into accepting settlements that are lower than they deserve.
- They can argue your case in court if necessary. Attorneys know the applicable laws and procedures of local courts if you need to move forward with a lawsuit for fair compensation. They also know your state’s statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing your lawsuit in court. Working with an attorney ensures that you meet all legal deadlines, including the statute of limitations. During the trial, your attorney can explain to a judge and jury why you deserve the amount of compensation you seek.
Explore Your Legal Options After a Reckless Driving Accident
To learn how you can get justice after a reckless driving accident, contact a personal injury lawyer in Augusta. With the knowledge, support, and resources of a car accident lawyer on your side, you can bring the strongest possible case against the reckless driver who injured you.