What Happens When a Reckless Driver Hits You?
Reckless drivers significantly increase the danger you face on the road. While simply driving your car poses its own unique set of risks, sharing the road with reckless drivers can seriously raise the risk of an accident. Worse, when you do have an accident with a reckless driver, you may suffer more serious injuries than in an accident with a driver attempting to safely navigate the road. leaving you with terrible injuries and worse financial issues. If you or a loved one has already experienced an accident with a potential reckless driver then contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
Common Reckless Driving Behaviors
Reckless drivers fail to follow the rules of the road. They often put themselves and others in dangerous situations by ignoring laws put in place to keep everyone who uses those roads safe. Reckless driving can include:
- Driving while distracted, including using a cell phone and driving or fiddling with the radio or GPS.
- Speeding excessively—generally, 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit counts as reckless driving.
- Changing lanes abruptly
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Driving under the influence of fatigue, drugs or alcohol
- Failing to properly signal, including using turn signals
- Following too close to another vehicle
- Road rage
Every driver bears a duty of care to every other person using the road. That duty of care requires drivers to watch out for others on the road, share it safely, and avoid increasing accident risk when possible. When a driver deliberately ignores that duty of care and fails to care for other drivers and road users, that reckless behavior can put everyone at risk.
What Happens When You Have an Accident with a Reckless Driver?
In an accident with a reckless driver, you may suffer serious injuries: spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, amputation, or organ trauma, for example. Immediately after the accident, you will need to seek quality medical care. As your recovery wears on, however, you may find yourself wondering, “What comes next?”
Does an accident with a reckless driver increase the compensation you can receive for your injuries?
Following a reckless driving accident, you may wonder if the other driver’s negligence changes the way you will receive compensation for your injuries. Most of the time, you will receive the same compensation after the accident regardless of whether the driver engaged in reckless driving behaviors before the accident.
When deciding what compensation you will receive for the accident, the insurance company looks at several factors: the extent of your injuries, including your pain and suffering; the time you had to miss at work due to your injuries; and the limits of the responsible driver’s policy. Driving recklessly does not change the driver’s policy at the time of the accident—though it may change the driver’s ability to get an auto insurance policy in the future.
Ultimately, the driver’s reckless behavior will not impact the way you deal with the accident. It may, however, impact the other driver significantly. In many cases, the driver will face higher insurance costs, points on his license, and legal consequences, including fines or jail time, for a reckless driving accident. The reckless driver may lose his license or have restrictions placed on his license, especially after repeated reckless driving behavior.
Do I need a lawyer after a reckless driving accident?
You can file a claim with the reckless driver’s insurance company on your own after a serious accident. Many accident victims, however, find that working with an attorney can offer significant advantages after a reckless driving accident. Consider:
- Working with an attorney often increases the compensation you receive. Many insurance companies, especially those that have just realized they have a reckless driver as a client, will attempt to decrease their financial responsibility to you by offering a low settlement offer shortly after the accident. Those funds may not reflect the full amount you deserve for your injuries—but many reckless driving victims take the offer anyway, not knowing they can negotiate for more. An attorney, on the other hand, can help you better understand exactly how much compensation you deserve for your injuries and help you fight for it if necessary. In many cases, simply engaging an attorney will let the insurance company know that you plan to handle this seriously, which can increase the funds they offer.
- Working with an attorney helps you collect all the evidence. Does the police report show evidence of reckless driving? It may provide all the information you need to prove the other driver’s recklessness and his responsibility for the accident. On the other hand, if the police report lacks that vital evidence, an attorney can help you find the evidence you need: witness testimonies, footage from traffic or security cameras, or expert witness testimony that helps piece the scene of the accident back together, for example.
Is the reckless driver always the only person responsible for the accident?
You may assume that if you suffered injuries in an accident with a reckless driver, the reckless driver automatically bears responsibility for any damage sustained during the accident. In reality, reckless drivers do not always bear full responsibility for the accident. A third car may have set some of the events in motion that injured you. Badly designed or maintained roads can contribute to an accident, as can defective cars or car parts. If a liquor licensee overserved the reckless driver, the licensee may share in the blame. Working with a lawyer can help you better understand the factors related to the accident and how they affect your claim. Your car accident lawyer can investigate the crash, determine who contributed to it, and hold accountable everyone who injured you.
If you need an attorney after a reckless driving accident, do not wait. Contact a skilled car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner he can start working to help you seek the compensation you deserve.