Problems of Reckless Driving
Millions of American motorists take to the road every day. No matter how carefully they drive, accidents happen, resulting in serious injuries and tragic fatalities. Nevada alone saw 330 traffic fatalities in just one year.
Studies show that reckless driving, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and other aggressive driving behaviors causes 33 percent of all major car accident deaths. In this blog post, we examine the problem of reckless driving and discuss how Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers can help if a reckless driver’s actions leave you injured.
Reckless Driving and Nevada Criminal Law
Nevada law makes it illegal to drive a vehicle in “willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.” Willful or wanton means deliberately or purposefully acting in a way that a reasonable person should know is likely to cause harm; a conscious disregard for other people’s safety.
Reckless driving is illegal everywhere in Nevada; not just on highways, but also in parking lots and on private roads. A person convicted of reckless driving faces criminal penalties that may include incarceration and fines. Drivers convicted of collision-related reckless driving also face a license suspension of six months to two years.
A recently enacted Nevada law also makes it illegal to drive a vehicle in an unauthorized trick driving display on a public highway. Trick driving displays involve slowing or diverting traffic so that a driver can perform stunts or have stunts filmed. Under the new law, those involved in trick driving displays can be convicted of a gross misdemeanor. That includes not only the driver but also anyone who contributes to the unlawful diversion of traffic. Both trick driving and unauthorized street races are considered reckless driving.
Reckless Driving and Nevada Civil Liability
Reckless drivers also face the prospect of civil legal liability for damages to victims of their dangerous conduct. Civil liability differs from criminal liability. In Nevada, state prosecuting attorneys file and pursue criminal charges against reckless drivers on behalf of the State. Separately, private attorneys, known generally as personal injury attorneys, file and pursue civil claims on behalf of the individual victims of a reckless driver’s conduct.
The purpose of a civil claim for damages is to recover compensation on behalf of injured victims. In the context of reckless driving accidents, various individuals and entities (and their insurers) may have a legal liability for paying those damages to accident victims, including:
- The reckless driver;
- The driver’s employer (if the accident happened while the reckless driver was working); and
- Anyone else whose bad decisions or dangerous actions contributed to the accident occurring.
One of the most important jobs of any personal injury lawyer who represents victims of reckless driving accidents is to identify all parties who may have legal liability for an accident to give an injured client the best possible chance of recovering compensation.
Common Examples of Reckless Driving
Common examples of reckless driving include:
- Driving over the speed limit or too fast for conditions;
- Disregarding traffic lights, signs, and signals;
- Tailgating and improper passing;
- Racing against others or weaving in and out of traffic;
- Disregarding a traffic officer’s instructions;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Driving while excessively tired or fatigued;
- Driving while distracted.
These are examples, only, however. Any willful and wanton driving behavior can qualify as reckless if it ignores the safety of others. If you have sustained injuries in a traffic accident caused by someone else’s dangerous driving, contact a skilled Nevada car accident injury attorney today.
Injuries You May Suffer in a Reckless Driving Accident
Victims of car accidents suffer thousands of serious and disabling injuries every day. Many factors affect the nature and extent of a victim’s injuries, such as the speed of the vehicles at the moment of impact, the relative size of the vehicles, and the angle at which a collision occurred.
Severe injuries caused by reckless driving accidents can include:
- Burn injuries, which can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement;
- Severe cuts and lacerations, which can cause the loss of use in body parts;
- Head and brain injuries, which include concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries;
- Spine, back and neck injuries, including fractured vertebrae and spinal cord damage;
- Abdominal injuries, resulting in damage to internal organs and internal bleeding;
- Crushed limbs and traumatic amputations; and
As above, these only represent examples of the types of injuries a reckless driver can cause. Connect with a lawyer right away to discuss your reckless driving accident injuries. You may have the right to recover significant money damages.
Victims of reckless drivers in Nevada may have the legal right to take action seeking three types of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages consist of hard costs related to an accident caused by a reckless driver. They typically include costs associated with:
- Past and future medical care for injuries related to the accident;
- Physical and occupational therapy;
- Psychological therapy;
- Adaptive accessories and equipment, such as wheelchairs;
- In-home services;
- Lost wages and loss of future income; and
- Replacement or repair of personal property.
Non-economic damages consist of harms that are more subjective and difficult to quantify (but no less real), such as your physical pain, emotional trauma, difficulty living with disfigurement, loss of companionship or consortium, inability to complete regular tasks, and loss of enjoyment of your life.
Punitive damages serve to punish a wrongdoer who engages in grossly negligent conduct, which may occur in cases of reckless driving.
Every reckless driving accident in Nevada has its own unique facts and circumstances. No one can guarantee that all (or any) of the above categories of damages will apply in a given case.
The most reliable way to determine what kinds of damages you deserve to receive, and how much those damages amount to, is to work with an experienced car accident injury attorney.
Were You Injured by a Reckless Driver?
By definition, reckless drivers have no regard for the rules of the road or the safety of others. They put themselves and the public-at-large at heightened risk of catastrophic injuries and death. Victims of their dangerous actions deserve compensation.
If a reckless driver has caused an accident that injured you or a loved one, contact an experienced motor vehicle accident injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your legal rights to damages.