Reckless Driving Accidents
When we get in a car to drive from Point A to Point B, we have to trust that those we share the road with will exercise reasonable care to drive safely, so we can all get to where we are going without incident. When someone drives recklessly, they violate this trust, putting themselves and others on the road in great danger. And when those who drive this way cause others to be seriously injured, they must be held accountable for their actions.
In Alabama, reckless driving is defined as driving a vehicle “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property…” (Alabama Code § 32-5A-190). This is a serious offense in our state, with the possibility of jail time even for a first offense.
For those who are severely injured due to the reckless actions of another driver, it serves as very little comfort that the offender has to pay a fine, spend a few days behind bars, and pay higher insurance rates. Because for the injured party, this can be a life-altering event.
In the span of just a few seconds, they can suddenly face the prospect of dealing a major injury, skyrocketing medical bills, days, weeks, or months missed from work (if they ever return to work at all), and untold physical pain and emotional suffering as they wonder what all this means and when their life will ever return to normal.
At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we understand that when someone is injured in a reckless driving accident, it takes a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on injury victims and their families, and we fight hard to secure every dollar of compensation they are entitled to. Our lawyers have over three decades of experience representing clients who have been injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents in Alabama, Southwest Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle. We work closely with our clients, taking the time to thoroughly investigate their case and fully evaluate their losses, and putting our extensive experience to work to ensure that those responsible for their injuries are held fully accountable.
If you have been injured in a reckless driving accident, there is a good chance you will receive a call from the insurance adjuster or another representative from the insurance company. Do NOT assume that they are calling with your best interests in mind, especially if they represent the insurer for the responsible party. Although they may sound friendly and express concern for your injuries, their only goal is to settle the claim for as little as possible.
Do not give them any type of recorded statement or access to your medical records. And do not accept their lowball settlement offer. Call our office right away to assess your case and discuss your legal rights and options.
Reckless Driving Accidents in Alabama
When someone is driving recklessly, they are in a mindset in which they have complete disregard for the rules of the road or the safety of others. Sometimes, people drive this way because they are intoxicated, other times, it may be road rage or just lack of maturity. Whatever the reason, reckless driving vastly increases the chances of a serious accident, which can result in catastrophic consequences.
Some examples of behaviors that may constitute reckless driving include:
- Excessive speeding (e.g., going more than 20 MPH over the speed limit);
- Driving too fast for the current conditions;
- Disobeying/disregarding traffic signals (e.g., running red lights and stop signs);
- Passing other vehicles illegally and/or in a dangerous manner;
- Playing “chicken”;
- Following a vehicle too closely/tailgating;
- Weaving back and forth erratically between lanes;
- Failure to yield the right of way;
- Failure to signal before turning;
- Driving after dark without headlights;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Texting while driving and similar forms of distracted driving;
- Street/drag racing.
The actions of a reckless driver can result in numerous types of injuries, which may include:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Fractures/broken bones;
- Permanent scarring;
- Internal injuries;
- Loss of limbs/amputations;
- Wrongful death.
Pursuing a Reckless Driving Accident Claim
When someone is injured in a vehicle collision with a reckless driver, they deserve to be fully compensated. Compensatory damages may be available for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages are actual monetary losses such as current and future medical costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and property damage. Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify; such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, permanent disability, and disfigurement.
In some limited cases, punitive damages may be awarded not as compensation for the injured party, but rather to “punish” the wrongdoer and help deter them (and others) from similar behaviors in the future. Although punitive damages are rare in most personal injury cases, they may be more attainable in a reckless driving accident case, because it is easier to show that the defendant acted willfully and consciously with wantonness or malicious intent. In Alabama, punitive damages are capped at the greater of three times compensatory damages or $1.5 million (in cases wherein the plaintiff suffered physical injury).
In Alabama, it is very important to prove that the other driver was 100% at fault for the accident. Under the state’s contributory negligence legal doctrine, if you are found to be even 1% at fault, you may be barred from recovering damages.
When we get involved, we go to work immediately to thoroughly investigate the case, review all records (including a possible police citation and arrest for reckless driving), interview witnesses, review photos and surveillance video (if available), and retain any other evidence that will show that the other driver was driving recklessly. With so much at stake, it is absolutely essential to get in touch with this and soon as possible after the accident, so we can work to protect and preserve your right to full compensation.
Contact Our Experienced Alabama Reckless Driving Lawyers Today
If you or someone close to you was injured because of the recklessness of another driver, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for a free consultation and case assessment. Call our office today at 334-699-5599 or message us through our web contact form. You may also stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.