Reckless driving continues to be a problem on America’s roadways; one minor mistake can lead to a significant catastrophe. If you’re involved in an accident with a reckless driver, you must know what to do shortly afterward to protect yourself from liability.
Before you go out on the hunt for the best personal injury lawyer in Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago, or wherever you are, we’ll provide you with some helpful and up-to-date information about reckless driving, what you need to do after an accident, and how a reckless driving lawyer might be able to help.
Before You Drive
Before discussing the after-accident protocol for reckless driving, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of reckless driving. Not only should you put your own impatience or frustration in check, but you should also remove yourself from dangerous situations where others are exhibiting symptoms of reckless driving. These may include the following:
- Speeding – The speed limit isn’t a suggestion; exceeding it puts the driver and all passengers at a higher risk of injury.
- Behaving irresponsibly in weather conditions – Rain, snow, wind, and ice can all affect road conditions such as visibility and traction. Drivers need to cut down their speed when conditions make driving (particularly braking) more difficult.
- Tailgating – A good rule of thumb is to keep a 2-second distance from a car in front of your vehicle. Doing so gives the driver time to stop or move out of the way if the automobile in front does something unexpected. Tailgating significantly increases the risk of rear-end collision.
- Shoulder driving – The shoulder isn’t a lane, and it’s very reckless and dangerous (not to mention illegal) for a driver to dash ahead on the shoulder.
- Weaving – Weaving drivers thread through traffic without regard for the people they are cutting off. This behavior is especially hazardous when the driver doesn’t use their blinkers, adding the element of unpredictability.
- Distracted driving – Texting and driving continue to be a leading cause of accidents. Any activity distracting the driver is dangerous and, incidentally, illegal in most states.
- Impaired driving – Drivers under the influence are a hazard to themselves and all other motorists. Whether it’s a little or a lot, a DUI is heavily penalized by law.
If you are in a vehicle with a reckless driver, it’s always better to ask politely for them to drop you off somewhere nearby when you realize that you are at risk. Your safety is worth the embarrassment of saying you are uncomfortable with their driving.
What to Do After an Accident Involving a Reckless Driver
Liability is the keyword for insurance and legal purposes shortly following an accident, and each state handles liability differently when it comes to car accident injuries.
Phone the Police
Your first step after an accident should be to call the police. Don’t assume passersby will call the police; instead, make the report yourself. First responders will reach you shortly to provide roadside assistance and check you for injuries.
Once law enforcement arrives, the responding officers will investigate, writing a report of their findings. Here, you must note that the offending driver displayed reckless behavior. Refer to the above list of behaviors and describe specific instances as you can remember, especially those leading to the accident. The description you give to the police will be crucial in determining liability and, hopefully, will go in your favor legally.
You shouldn’t just rely on the police report for your evidence; other drivers who witnessed the behavior often pull over to assist. Make sure to gather as much information from others to confirm reckless behavior from the driver. These eyewitnesses can provide valuable evidence should the driver dispute the claims of recklessness.
Snap Some Photos
Photographs provide visual evidence of reckless driving. They can help confirm the extent of the damage done, the conditions on the road at the time, and any injury to your person at the time of the accident.
Even something as simple as the skid marks can demonstrate reckless behavior in conjunction with other evidence. Fundamentally, you should be thorough. You can always delete extra photos later if you don’t need them.
Accept Medical Treatment
If you feel shaken (but unhurt) at the time of the injury, you should still accept the offered medical treatment. Doing so can uncover underlying issues that may not manifest until a few hours or days later; moreover, to claim for injuries and be compensated, you need to have an official medical record, thereby proving that your injuries are legitimate. Your primary care provider may refer you to a physical therapist or chiropractor to offset any back strain problems or effects from whiplash.
Seek Professional Advice
A reckless driving attorney can help you seek the compensation you are entitled to after being involved with a reckless driver. If you do your due diligence and take photos, gather witness statements, and provide an accurate report to the police, the law may be on your side when it comes to making claims on medical bills and financial losses.
You can acquire compensation for some or all of the following that may occur following an accident:
- Medical expenses related to injuries.
- Suffering, as calculated by the severity of your mental anguish.
- Lost wages
- Disability and rehabilitation costs
- Property damage
- Transportation costs
- Stress or diminished quality of life after the accident
- Punitive damages in cases where the driver clearly displayed negligence
Your compensation differs based on the details of your case, but a reckless driving attorney can be your advocate. They gather evidence, including medical records, police reports, dashcam footage, and witness statements, to determine what your claim is worth. They will negotiate with the insurance company, taking the matter to trial if the parties cannot reach a settlement agreement.
The Bottom Line
Reckless drivers can endanger themselves and others on the road. If you’re the victim of reckless driving, you may be entitled to compensation for your current or persistent injuries. Protect yourself immediately following the accident with the tips we’ve provided, and you’ll stand a much better chance of avoiding liability and seeking compensation for your injuries.
To accurately represent your interests, assess the amount your claim is worth, and advocate on your behalf, a reckless driving attorney is qualified in the relevant legal matters, even going so far as to take your case to court if necessary.