Reckless Driving Car Accident Lawyers

It’s no secret that every time you get behind the wheel, you’re taking a risk. But in order to keep yourself and other drivers safe, you follow traffic laws — you don’t run red lights, speed excessively, or drive on the wrong side of the road.

Unfortunately, some drivers aren’t this careful. These reckless drivers put themselves and everyone else in danger. If you’ve been injured because of a reckless driver, you might be able to recover compensation to cover medical bills, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, physical pain, and more.

Get in touch with the reckless driving car accident lawyers at Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq — we might be able to help!

What Is Reckless Driving?

The term “reckless driving” sounds like a vague term in common English. Under New Jersey law, it’s a little more specific.

State law defines reckless driving as driving a vehicle “heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property.”

There is no specific action that constitutes reckless driving in New Jersey. If a police officer sees someone driving in a way that endangers (or could endanger) people or property, they’re likely to charge them with reckless driving.

It’s important to note that while reckless driving is a crime in many states, it’s not technically a crime in New Jersey — it’s considered to be a traffic offense. But unlike many traffic offenses, it can (and often does) result in jail time. First-time offenders can be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail, and repeat offenders can receive longer sentences.

Although it might not technically be a crime, reckless driving is taken very seriously by New Jersey courts. And if a reckless driver has harmed you or your loved ones, you know that a traffic offense doesn’t have to be a crime to have painful, lifelong consequences.

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Common Causes of Reckless Driving

“Reckless driving” means a driver was engaging in dangerous behavior on the road.

In many cases, reckless drivers are doing more than one thing to endanger the public. These are some of the most common behaviors that reckless drivers engage in — as well as their potential causes.

Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deaths every year. One of the most common forms of distracted driving is texting while driving.

Not everyone understands how dangerous texting behind the wheel can be. When you’re traveling at high speeds, taking your eyes off the road for less than a second can lead to devastating consequences.

Changing lanes is a normal part of driving, but some drivers find ways to make it incredibly dangerous. Weaving through lanes while speeding, changing lanes without checking to see if another car is present, or simply failing to stay within one lane are all possible causes of reckless driving.

Going slightly above the speed limit usually isn’t enough to result in a reckless driving charge. However, speeding excessively puts everyone on the road in danger. So does speeding while also engaging in other reckless behaviors like texting behind the wheel.

Stopping at a red light or a stop sign is one of the most basic rules of the road. And failing to stop at one is extremely dangerous. For instance, if a driver goes through a red light at an intersection, they could drive right into cross traffic.

When you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to multitask behind the wheel. However, engaging in distracting activities like applying makeup, adjusting the radio or navigation system, or eating can put other drivers in danger.

Although many drivers neglect to use them, turn signals are a critical part of safe driving. If a driver fails to signal when turning or changing lanes, other drivers won’t be expecting them to turn — and that can lead to a car accident.

Tailgating alone might not always mean reckless driving. However, many reckless and aggressive drivers follow other cars too closely. Sometimes, it’s a result of impatience, but at other times, it’s meant to be an aggressive tactic. Either way, it’s extremely unsafe behavior.

Common Injuries From Reckless Driving

Reckless driving puts others in harm’s way. And in some cases, it causes actual harm. These are some of the injuries you might suffer if a reckless driver causes an accident.

In many cases, injuries from car accidents can be easily spotted from the outside. But organ damage and other internal injuries are especially dangerous because they can’t always be spotted right away.

Internal bleeding is a condition that can cause death in a matter of hours. Depending on the exact organs injured, the damage can be life-threatening as well.

In any car accident, there are ample opportunities for head trauma — both from outside blows and the forceful movement of the brain inside the skull. When there’s enough trauma, you might suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBIs vary greatly in severity. On the mild end, you might suffer a minor concussion, which may heal in a few days with rest.

On the more severe end, you may have damage in multiple areas of your brain. You might experience cognitive issues, problems with memory, and even problems with movement or vision. These TBIs often require extensive rehabilitation, and not all of them heal completely.

Broken bones, also called fractures, are unfortunately very common in car accidents. Breaking any bone is possible, but fractures of the pelvis (hip bones) and clavicle (collarbone) are especially common. Both of these breaks tend to be very painful, and they often take a long time to heal.

Some fractures can heal without surgery, although your doctor will likely put on a cast or give you a brace to immobilize the area. However, other fractures require surgery. In some cases, the surgeon will need to implant metal hardware to hold the bones in place so they can heal properly.

Crush injuries are often extremely serious. They happen if part of your body is compressed, usually with significant force. In a car accident, you’re likely to get a crush injury if you’re pinned under the car.

Crush injuries can impact all kinds of body tissues — bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, internal organs, and blood vessels can all be affected.

Car accidents expose your body to sudden, powerful force. Often, vehicle occupants suffer injuries to their backs, necks, and even spinal cords. These are some of the many possible back and spine injuries you might suffer:

  • Vertebral fractures. Breaks in the bones that make up your backbone.
  • Ruptured discs. Damage to the collagen discs that cushion your spine.
  • Damage that makes your spine move out of alignment.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Nerve injuries that cause paralysis or issues with movement or feeling.

If your back has been hurt in an accident, it can be extremely difficult to determine your exact injury without medical help. After a car accident, always get medical attention right away.

Proving Liability in Reckless Driving Accidents

In personal injury cases in New Jersey, the legal representative for the plaintiff (the injured person) ordinarily needs to prove four things:

  • The defendant had a “duty of care”
  • The defendant neglected that duty
  • The defendant’s failure to follow the duty of care is what caused your injury
  • You have actual damages

Damages are the consequences of the defendant’s behavior — like injuries, property damage, lost wages, physical and emotional pain, etc. — for which you should be compensated. Actual damages are an important part of a personal injury claim.

For example, imagine a driver swerves out in front of you, making you slam on the brakes. The driver is clearly guilty of reckless driving, but because you don’t have actual damages, this wouldn’t be a situation where you could file a personal injury claim.

On the other hand, if the reckless driver hit your car and you were severely injured as a result, you would have damages to collect. This means you’d likely have a personal injury case against the driver.

If you have been hurt by a reckless driver, proving negligence is sometimes simpler than in other cases. That’s because, under New Jersey law, there’s something called “negligence per se.” This term means “negligence in itself.” In most cases, a driver who injures you as a result of reckless driving is guilty of negligence per se.

This means if you file a personal injury claim, you don’t have to prove that the defendant was negligent — the fact that they were driving recklessly is proof enough. You just have to prove that their negligence is what led to your injury and that you have actual damages.

However, keep in mind that if you’ve been hurt by a reckless driver, you don’t have to worry about proving negligence yourself. If a reckless driving attorney takes on your case, they will develop a strategy.

All you need to do is explain your case in detail and give your attorney any relevant documents (like medical bills). Your lawyer will handle the rest.

Injured in a Car Accident? Looking for a Lawyer? Contact GGL Today

If you’ve been badly injured by a reckless driver, it might be hard to know what to do next. A personal injury attorney might be able to help you secure compensation.

If you weren’t the one responsible for your injury, you shouldn’t be responsible for the costs associated with it.

However, you shouldn’t just choose the first personal injury attorney you find. Having the right lawyer can mean the difference between winning your case and walking away with nothing.

At Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, we’ve been seeking justice for injured people since 1991. We’ve recovered $1 billion and counting for our clients, and we might be able to help you, too. If you’ve been injured by a reckless driver, call our office at 800-923-3456 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation.

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