When a motorist engages in reckless driving, they willingly put others at risk of being injured or killed in a car accident. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that reckless driving played a role in more than 50 percent of car accidents in the United States in recent years. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recently reported that reckless driving was on the rise, as indicated by a related spike in car accident deaths across the U.S.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another person’s reckless driving, you deserve to be compensated fairly for your losses. Bay area car accident attorney, Daniel S. Rose, has over 26 years of experience in personal injury law and is committed to pursuing justice for those who have been injured through the fault of another person’s actions. Contact his office today by calling (415) 946-8900 for a free consultation.
What Is Reckless Driving in California?
California Vehicle Code 23103 VC states that a person is guilty of reckless driving when they drive a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” In other words, although a driver probably does not intend to cause injury, they are guilty of reckless driving if they knowingly drive dangerously.
Examples of Reckless Driving
“Reckless driving” is a broad term under California law that applies to any driving behavior that puts others at risk of harm. Speeding is one of the most common forms of reckless driving. However, it is not always classified as reckless driving. The circumstances and road conditions under which speeding occurs are used to determine whether this behavior qualifies as reckless driving. For example, a driver going 25 mph over the speed limit on an empty road or highway is likely to be charged with a traffic violation and not reckless driving. If, on the other hand, a driver is going 25 mph over the speed limit under dangerous road conditions while also weaving in and out of traffic, they are likely to be charged with reckless driving since they are knowingly disregarding the safety of others.
Some other examples of reckless driving that commonly occur on California roads include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Road rage or aggressive driving
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Illegal or unsafe passing, such as crossing a double yellow line or passing on a curved roadway
- Failing to yield right of way
- Driving on the wrong side of the road or outside of traffic lanes
- Street racing
- Knowingly driving an unsafe vehicle
Penalties for Reckless Driving in California
Reckless driving is treated more seriously than a basic traffic violation. It is classified as a misdemeanor offense and may involve penalties such as:
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Up to 90 days in jail
- Two points on a driver’s license
- Up to a six-month driver’s license suspension
A reckless driver who causes an accident involving injuries is given even harsher penalties. If the accident caused serious injuries, the driver might be charged with a felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to three years in jail. “Serious” injuries, as defined under California law, include:
- Brain injury
- Loss or impairment of the function of a body part or organ
- Fractured bone
- Wound requiring significant suturing
How a Bay Area Car Accident Attorney Can Assist
If you have been injured in a car accident in which you believe the other driver was acting recklessly, you deserve to be adequately compensated for your losses. The compensation you receive should cover the cost of past and future medical bills, as well as lost income and loss of quality of life due to the injuries you have suffered.
The first step in pursuing compensation is to file an insurance claim with the reckless driver’s auto insurance company. A San Francisco auto injury lawyer can assist you with this complicated process to help maximize your payout. They can also help you assess whether your payout adequately compensates for your losses. If it does not, they can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit against the reckless driver, which involves gathering evidence to prove the reckless driving behavior and calculating your losses. A reckless driving lawsuit may also involve criminal proceedings heard in a California court in which you, as the victim, would need to participate as a witness.
Bay area car accident attorney Daniel S. Rose understands the trauma and shock you may be facing in the aftermath of a car accident. He has dedicated his career to pursuing justice for accident victims to help them rebuild their lives after injury. He has handled more than 1,000 cases to date and has recovered several hundred million dollars for his clients. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel S. Rose at (415) 946-8900 today to discuss your case and find out how he can help you.