When drivers engage in reckless driving, such as speeding, road rage, or swerving in and out of lanes, they put everyone else’s safety in jeopardy. Reckless driving is considered a criminal offense in Texas that can carry jail time and significant fines. Victims injured by reckless drivers can pursue damages through a personal injury lawsuit and civil court.
If you or your loved one have been seriously injured by a reckless driver in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it’s important that you reach out to an experienced attorney. You only have a limited amount of time to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, and other financial damages. The Dallas personal injury attorneys at Rochelle McCullough, LLP have a proven track record of holding reckless drivers accountable when they injure victims.
What Is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is a criminal offense in Texas that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. When a police officer catches a driver speeding excessively, he or she will likely receive a ticket for speeding and reckless driving. However, there isn’t a specific number of miles per hour over the speed limit a driver must drive to be charged with reckless driving in Texas. Several other types of dangerous driving can lead to a criminal charge for reckless driving, including the following:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Running a red light
- Evading a police officer
- Ignoring traffic signs
- Street racing
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Cutting other drivers off
The Difference Between Negligent and Reckless Driving
Texas law defines reckless driving as “operating a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” The main difference between reckless and negligent driving involves the driver’s intent. Reckless driving involves a driver’s conscious and intentional disregard for others’ safety.
In other words, reckless drivers knew or should have known that their behavior was reasonably likely to cause injury, damage, or harm to others. Recklessness involves a greater lack of care or diligence than negligence. Victims of reckless driving accidents may be able to pursue punitive damages in civil court in addition to economic and non-economic damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer for engaging in willful and wanton behavior and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
Aggressive Driving Is Considered Reckless Driving in Texas
Some states have specific statutes that criminalize aggressive driving, including tailgating, speeding, and other types of selfish and angry driving behavior. In Texas, aggressive driving isn’t considered a separate offense. Drivers who engage in these dangerous behaviors may be charged with reckless driving instead.
When drivers are charged with reckless driving due to aggressive driving, such as street racing or evading the police, the penalties are more severe. When a person becomes injured or dies, the state can pursue felony charges.
The Difference Between Criminal and Civil Penalties for Reckless Driving
If the driver who caused your injuries has been charged and convicted of reckless driving, you can use the conviction as part of your civil claim for damages. Reckless driving has been criminalized because it is dangerous to others on the road.
As a result, if the driver has already been charged or convicted of reckless driving, the victims will likely be able to prove that the driver is negligent per se. When negligence per se has been established, the court presumes the driver has breached his or her duty to others on the road.
Even if the driver hasn’t been convicted of a crime, victims can still pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Victims cannot recover compensation for medical expenses and other damages through a criminal court. Instead, they will need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in a civil courts a separate legal action. Civil lawsuits allow victims to recover compensation for the damages they’ve suffered.
Reckless Driving Can Cause Severe Injuries
Accidents caused by reckless driving can be more severe than other auto accidents. Reckless drivers may be angry, enraged, or significantly intoxicated. Their reaction times and decision-making abilities are usually diminished. When reckless drivers are speeding, their vehicle stopping distance decreases while the force of the impact increases.
As a result, victims can become crushed in dangerous head-on collisions, T-Bone accidents, and sideswipe accidents. They can suffer broken bones, internal organ damage, painful head and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, disfigurement, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and even death. Car accidents can have a serious physical and emotional impact on victims that can take months or years for them to overcome. In some cases, a victim’s injuries are long-term and require ongoing medical care for the rest of their lives.
Pursuing the Full Compensation You Deserve
Rochelle McCullough, LLP has the resources and skills needed to carefully estimate the value of your insurance or personal injury claim. Our legal team regularly works with financial and medical experts to carefully estimate our client’s current and future damages.
As the victim of a reckless driving car accident, you can pursue compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include a victim’s current and future medical expenses, long-term care, and rehabilitation costs. They also include compensation for property damage to your vehicle and other personal property.
Many car accident victims are no longer able to return to work because of their severe injuries. When a victim becomes disabled from a car accident, he or she can pursue compensation for his or her inability to earn an income in the future. Finally, victims can pursue compensation for the pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other intangible damages they’ve suffered due to the car accident.
Discuss Your Case with a Dallas Car Accident Attorney
The car accident attorneys at Rochelle McCullough, LLP have a proven track record of obtaining the full compensation victims deserve for their injuries. If you or your loved one have become injured due to a car accident caused by a reckless driver in Dallas, don’t hesitate to contact Rochelle McCullough, LLP.
We extend our personal injury legal services to help clients with reckless driving accident cases throughout Texas, including Dallas, & Fort Worth, as well as in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Committed to advocating for your rights and securing the compensation you deserve.