Injuries suffered in a vehicle accident are already terrible, but what if the driver responsible was driving so recklessly that there was no way to avoid an accident? Reckless driving is illegal in Florida, and many choose to sue the reckless driver responsible for their injuries.

If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of another driver’s reckless driving, you are perfectly able to sue that driver for damages. Here is a quick guide to understanding the consequences of reckless driving in Florida.

What is Reckless Driving?

According to Florida statute 316.192, “Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

A vehicle operator that is guilty of reckless driving drives in such a way so as to literally not care whether or not they hurt themselves or others with their vehicle. There are a number of different ways that reckless driving occurs, but the short of it is that the reckless driver is clearly a danger to others on the road.

Is Reckless Driving the Same Thing as Negligence?

Technically, reckless driving is a kind of negligence, but not all negligence is the same as reckless driving. Someone can be negligent by simply failing to check their blind spot. But a reckless driver gives appearances that they wish to intimidate other drivers and place all evasive responsibility upon those drivers.

Additionally, Florida law considers reckless driving a felony offense if property damage and injuries are serious enough. Not only is that reckless driver liable for injuries, they will also serve jail time, pay fines, and may even lose their license.

In contrast, most routine negligence resulting in a car crash is hardly a misdemeanor, unless the negligent driver clearly broke traffic laws.

Types of Reckless Driving

Most people recognize reckless driving when they see it. If you are a victim in an accident with a reckless driver, it is vital that you collect pictures of the scene, damage to property, and injuries. Also, you should seek assistance from eye witnesses of the reckless driving should you need to file a personal injury claim. Here are a few of the most common kinds of reckless driving.

Disregarding Basic Traffic Laws

Reckless drivers may refuse to stop at stop signs or traffic lights. They also ignore the speed limit and rules pertaining to right of way.

Distracted Driving

Less aggressive perhaps, driving while texting or distracted by something inside the vehicle is also considered reckless driving.

Excessive Speed

As a general rule, 20 miles per hour over the speed limit is considered reckless driving. Most reckless drivers will be driving even faster.

Driving in Unsafe Places to Get Through Heavy Traffic

Some reckless drivers may take to shoulder lanes or drive the wrong direction on the road in a drastic attempt to get around traffic. They may also take U-turns where they are not permitted to do so.

Punitive Damages

If you qualify for damages as a result of another driver’s reckless driving, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. 

In Florida, punitive damages are allowed when the guilty party’s negligence is notably violent or aggressive and clearly contributed to the severity of your injuries. While most damages (that is, economic, pain and suffering) exist to help you return as best you can to your former quality of life before the accident, punitive damages exist to punish the guilty party.

Choosing a Skilled Attorney to Represent You in a Personal Injury Claim

In the wake of an accident caused by a reckless driver, make sure to get that driver’s registration and insurance. Call the police immediately and help attend to any injuries on the scene. If you or someone else appears seriously injured, make sure that someone calls an ambulance (if you call 911, they will usually ask you if you need an ambulance).

Make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you feel okay after the accident. Some injuries may surface later on, and you will not be able to seek compensation with insurance or in a personal injury claim if it looks like your injuries took place after the accident.

As soon as possible, reach out to a personal injury attorney with experience in car accident cases. In a reckless driver case, you should specifically seek the help of a board certified personal injury attorney. They are best qualified to build your case and help you seek full damages for your injuries.

For more information about how a South Florida personal injury attorney can help you with your reckless driver case, contact board-certified lawyers Balkan and Patterson at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.