Hit by a Reckless Driver? We Can Help!
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 26% of traffic all fatalities resulted from the speeding of reckless drivers in 2017. Reckless driving behaviors like speeding and distracted driving increase the danger that you and your family faces on the road. When you get into an accident with a reckless driver, you are also more likely to suffer more serious injuries than you would in a collision with a good driver who attempted to safely navigate the road.
As a victim of reckless driving, you may experience injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
If you were recently injured in an accident due to reckless driving, the Law Office of Kyle W Jones can answer your legal questions and help determine your eligibility for seeking compensation in California. Here is what you need to know about reckless driving.
What Is Reckless Driving?
The California Vehicle Code 23103 defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for safety of persons or property.” Any of the following behaviors can be considered reckless driving:
- Speeding over the posted speed limit
- Following too closely, also known as tailgating
- Making improper turns
- Erratic or improper lane changes
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to signal
- Illegally driving on the sidewalk, shoulder, or median
- Engaging in aggressive driving behaviors, or road rage
- Running red lights or ignoring stop signs
- Driving under the influence
- Driving distracted or fatigued
In California, reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime that is punishable by hefty fines, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time, depending on the individual’s case. If you were injured as a result of reckless driving, you can pursue compensation through a claim with the insurance company of the driver. If the insurance company fails to offer you a fair settlement, you can then file an auto accident lawsuit to recover damages.
What to Do If You’re Injured by a Reckless Driver
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a reckless driver, you should immediately call the police. The other driver may act aggressively, so you should not approach them directly unless they have been injured and need your assistance. A law enforcement officer will assess the situation and ticket the other driver accordingly. Be sure to obtain a copy of the accident report, which will detail the contact and insurance information of everyone involved. This report can make the claims process go much smoother.
You should also seek medical treatment as soon as possible. This can be done at the scene for more serious injuries, but many people wait to see their local doctor or emergency care facility. Some symptoms may not present for several hours, so it’s a good idea to obtain a medical evaluation right away to rule out any hidden injuries.
After you have been cleared by a healthcare professional, the next thing that you will want to do is to consult with a lawyer. Proving the driver was reckless or careless is one of the key barriers to getting compensation. To improve your odds of being compensated fairly, you should involve an auto accident attorney right away to help conduct an in-depth investigation. Your attorney will further gather evidence on what actually caused the accident.
Evidence may include:
- A police incident report
- Proof of any charges brought against the reckless driver
- Witness statements
- Videos or pictures of the accident
Remember to call a lawyer before you speak with the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance representatives will attempt to use deceiving tactics to get you to say something that can reduce your claim amount. An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on how to speak with representatives to obtain maximum compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in California?
In California, the statute of limitations for filing most car accident lawsuits is two years from the date that the accident first occurred. Note that there may be some cases where you would need to file sooner, so it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
What Can You Get Compensated for?
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by a reckless driver, you can protect your rights with the help of an auto accident attorney. The role of the attorney is to guide you through the process in an effort to help you obtain reasonable compensation. When there is sufficient evidence to prove that the accident was caused by the other driver’s reckless actions, you may be able to receive monetary damages for:
- Injuries or disabilities caused by the accident
- Both immediate and long-term medical expenses
- Loss of wages and future lost income
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Pain and suffering you’ve experienced
Also, you should keep in mind that Prop 213 prohibits uninsured drivers from collecting non-economic damages, such as for pain and suffering, even if the accident wasn’t their fault. Approximately 13% of U.S. motorists drive without vehicle insurance, which puts millions at risk of being involved in an accident and being unable to seek full recovery. In most cases, only insured drivers will be able to to pursue compensation for non-economic losses in California, so it’s essential to ensure your insurance policy is active each time you get behind the wheel.
Need a Bakersfield Accident Attorney?
Working with an attorney can help you protect your rights after an auto accident. At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones in Bakersfield, we will work hard to hold the responsible party accountable for their reckless behavior. We know how to investigate, determine liability, and handle tactics from insurers. We can help you understand how different factors can affect the final outcome of your case. Don’t hesitate to contact our office today if you or a loved one has been injured as a result of reckless driving in the Kern County area.