If you were seriously injured in an accident caused by a reckless driver in Atlanta, turn to the car accident attorneys at The Champion Firm, P.C. for help.
Though most Atlanta drivers respect other motor vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road, there are people who do not show the same regard for people or property. Such drivers are often considered reckless, and they are much more likely to cause motor vehicle accidents.
A reckless driver is typically at fault for an accident, but that motorist’s insurance company will very likely try to find reasons to justify denying any injury claims from victims. In some cases, insurers may argue that victims somehow caused the accident. Even if the reckless driver’s insurance company accepts liability, you can still count on them to do everything possible to minimize the payout.
Don’t let them get away with it.
If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a reckless driving accident in the Greater Atlanta area, you will want to have legal assistance dealing with insurance companies. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers are ready to stand up for you and negotiate a fair and full settlement to your case.
And, if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, our firm will not hesitate to file a lawsuit. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Considered Reckless Driving in Atlanta?
Georgia Code § 40-6-390 establishes that a person commits the offense of reckless driving when they operate a motor vehicle “in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 12 months in jail.
A reckless driving conviction can also result in four points being added to an offender’s driving record. Georgia suspends the licenses of any driver convicted of a traffic offense worth four or more points for six months.
Reckless driving is a separate offense from aggressive driving. Under Georgia Code § 40-6-397, a person commits the offense of aggressive driving when they operate “any motor vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person.”
Aggressive driving includes violations of state laws relating to:
- Overtaking and passing
- Improper lane changes or usage
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Failure to signal
- Driving too slowly
- Motorcycle lane usage violations
- Reckless driving with intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct
In some cases, a person could be charged with both reckless driving and aggressive driving.
Types of Reckless Driving in Atlanta
The phrase “reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property” is subjective, so a reckless driving charge is often the determination of a police officer. In some Georgia jurisdictions, certain speeding offenses that involve motorists traveling more than a specified amount over the posted speed limit will automatically lead to reckless driving charges.
Other common kinds of behaviors by drivers that could constitute reckless driving include:
- Failure to obey traffic signs or signals
- Illegal passing
- Failure to signal
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drag racing
- Faulty equipment
Keep in mind that a criminal case for a reckless driving charge is separate from liability in any civil case related to a crash caused by a reckless or aggressive driver. In other words, a driver who is acquitted or otherwise avoids a conviction for reckless driving can still be held civilly liable.
One of the most well-known examples of this distinction is the case of former pro football star O.J. Simpson. In his 1995 criminal trial, Simpson was acquitted of murder in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, but he was later found civilly liable for their wrongful deaths.
Types of Injuries Caused by Reckless Driving in Atlanta
When a reckless driver causes a car crash, the resulting injuries are often severe. Innocent accident victims can suffer serious injuries that lead to weeks, months or possibly even years of rehabilitation. Sometimes these injuries are so severe that the victim is permanently unable to return to work or perform the basic tasks of daily living.
Examples of the types of injuries that can occur in a crash caused by a reckless driver include:
- Internal organ injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Muscle strains
- Back injuries
- Joint injuries
Some injuries can dramatically reshape the entire lives of victims and require full-time assistance with their daily needs. In other cases, reckless driving crashes can cause fatal injuries. The families of victims may file wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent parties in such cases.
Liability for Atlanta Crashes Caused by Reckless Drivers
A driver who operates recklessly and causes a traffic accident in Atlanta may be held responsible for all damages caused as a result of their negligence. If you suspect that your crash was caused by a reckless driver, you need to contact authorities so a police report can be completed.
In most cases, officers will issue citations to negligent drivers. Again, civil liability is not dependent on a charge or conviction for such a traffic crime.
Insurance companies for reckless drivers usually go to great lengths to minimize or deny liability in reckless driving cases. Initially, some insurers may seem to be friendly with accident victims. However, it is typical for these companies to attempt to use the victim’s own statements about an accident against them, arguing the victim’s negligence caused the accident. For this reason, you should always avoid speaking to an insurance company until you have a lawyer.
Insurance companies may also offer quick lump sum settlements to resolve cases where liability is clear. You should know that these initial settlement offers are rarely anywhere near what victims are actually entitled to. In many cases, accident victims wrongly fear that this is the only offer they will receive and accept the settlement. Only later do they realize that settlement funds are quickly exhausted. Don’t sign any settlement offer until an attorney reviews it first.
Contact Us Now for Legal Help with an Atlanta Reckless Driving Car Crash Claim
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a crash caused by a reckless driver in Atlanta? Contact The Champion Firm, P.C. as soon as possible.
Our firm is prepared to work closely with you throughout your case, so you will always be fully informed and have all your questions answered. You can have our Atlanta personal injury attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call us or contact us online to set up a free consultation.