Atlanta, Georgia drivers often use the phrase “reckless driving” to describe bad drivers, but what does it really mean? And if reckless driving was responsible for your automobile accident, how does reckless driving impact your accident claim? Reckless driving is not just illegal and irresponsible, it puts the lives and safety of other drivers at serious risk. If you’ve been hit by a reckless driver and suffered injury, it’s important to speak with a skilled car accident attorney.
In Georgia, reckless driving occurs when “any person…drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.” A violator can face up to a year in jail and heavy fines for this misdemeanor crime. Reckless driving can take many different forms, depending on the situation. For example, reckless driving could mean:
- Driving too fast for weather or other conditions
- Driving too fast in construction work zones
- Failure to yield
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Weaving through traffic
- Passing illegally on the shoulder
- Aggressive tailgating
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
The key is whether the driving showed reckless disregard for others’ safety. An Atlanta, Georgia automobile accident attorney understands that the facts will heavily determine whether reckless driving was present. And if so, the criminal penalties are just the beginning.
How the driver will be criminally punished is the province of the Atlanta, Georgia criminal court system. But civil liability may also attach where the reckless driving caused an accident. A criminal conviction certainly helps strengthen your case in civil court. It can also increase the likelihood of receiving punitive damages from the responsible driver
However, it’s important to know that the at-fault driver could be considered reckless even if no laws were violated. In other words, a civil jury may determine that the driver’s actions were clearly reckless. That can happen regardless of whether he or she was criminally charged.
The absence of reckless driving does not mean that the other driver automatically gets away. He or she may not face criminal punishment, but could still face liability for your accident. That’s because in civil court, the jury’s standard in considering your case is that of negligence. Negligence exists in Atlanta, Georgia automobile accident cases where the following are found to be true:
- The driver owed a legal duty of care to the victim
- That duty of care was breached because of negligence
- The breach was a cause in fact and a proximate cause of the accident
- As a result, the victim suffered injuries
Proving these elements in court takes an attorney with the experience and tenacity to hold the responsible driver liable. It also requires understanding what sort of damages may apply in your case. Picking the right Atlanta, Georgia automobile accident attorney can make the difference in how much you recover. As a victim, you could be entitled to these and other damages:
- Medical expenses
- Prescription drug medications
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Whether or not reckless driving was responsible for your accident, we will thoroughly investigate what happened. Automobile accident cases are based strongly on the individual facts of each incident. The weather and traffic conditions, driver’s actions, victim’s actions, and many other factors are considered. So are the damages suffered by the victim and any long-term treatments. All of these affect the value of your claim. Our Atlanta, Georgia firm will fight to obtain the best results for you.
Contact a Knowledgeable Atlanta, Georgia Automobile Accident Firm Today
Schneider Hammers has experience with all types of automobile accidents, and we can help you. Our dedicated team will discuss your legal rights and what sort of compensation you can expect. Give us a call today and find out what we can do for your case.