Driving is a privilege that comes with tremendous responsibility. Each and every time a driver gets behind the wheel of their vehicle, they're expected to drive carefully and courteously to avoid causing devastating accidents. Unfortunately, not all motorists live up to these expectations of driving safely and, when they don't, they put innocent lives at risk.
Reckless driving, which is defined by Delaware state law as “driving any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property,” is one of the most common causes of car accidents—accounting for approximately 33 percent of all accident-related fatalities. As such, it carries penalties much harsher than the average traffic infraction. In Delaware, reckless drivers face stiff fines and the possibility of imprisonment. They can also be named as defendants in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits in civil court.
When people make the choice to drive recklessly, they needlessly increase the accident risk of everyone on the road and should be held accountable for any consequences that arise as a result of their poor decisions. Learning more about reckless driving can help accident victims decide how best to proceed.
Reckless Driving Examples
While there are a number of driving behaviors that can be considered needlessly dangerous, distracted driving behaviors are those that are particularly egregious and likely to result in harm, such as:
- Excessive speeding – driving 20 miles per hour, or more, above the posted speed limit
- Talking on a cell phone
- Texting, emailing or using social media
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to heed stop signs or traffic signals
- Racing other vehicles
- Failing to signal when turning or changing lanes
- Following too closely
- Driving in a way that's inappropriate for current road or weather conditions
- Passing on a two-lane highway when visibility is limited
- Leading law enforcement on a low- or high-speed chase
Immediately after a reckless driving accident, victims can strengthen their insurance claim or lawsuit by taking photos of the accident scene, as well as any injuries or property damage. It also helps to ask law enforcement for a copy of the police report and to have any and all injuries promptly documented by a medical professional.
Common Types of Compensation Sought in Reckless Driving Cases
Victims of reckless driving accidents often sustain significant injuries and property damage which can, in turn, lead to an array of other losses. An experienced and reputable personal injury attorney can help accident victims pursue compensation for a variety of economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Past and future accident-related medical expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages due to the inability to work while recovering from injuries
- Loss of earning capacity if the injuries prevent a return to work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Inability to function as a whole person
- Reduced enjoyment of life
Family members or other dependents who file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who died in a reckless driving accident can also seek compensation for:
- Medical, funeral, and cremation or burial expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of benefits (such as health insurance or pension)
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium (for surviving spouses)
- And more
While a financial award can't turn back the clock to before the accident—and subsequent injuries—occurred, it can give accident victims the stability they need to focus on their recovery, rather than their finances.
Were You Injured by a Reckless Driver?
If you were injured in an accident caused by a reckless driver, you may be able to seek a monetary award from the at-fault party. The experienced attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help. Contact us today to arrange an appointment to discuss your case—we provide no-cost, no-obligation initial consultations.