Reckless and Aggressive Driver Accidents
Our Fort Lauderdale Auto Accident Attorney Can Help You Recover Your Losses from Dangerous Drivers
Unfortunately, there are a lot of reckless and aggressive drivers on South Florida’s roads. These drivers are to blame for a significant percentage of the crashes that occur every year, and reckless and aggressive driving behaviors leave far too many innocent people with life-altering or life-threatening injuries. If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member, you deserve better, and Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney Joseph Maus can take legal action on your behalf.
Reckless and Aggressive Drivers Deserve to Be Held Accountable
Simply put, there is no excuse for reckless or aggressive driving. There is no excuse for taking unnecessary risks and putting others in harm’s way. All forms of reckless and aggressive driving are considered “negligent” in Florida, and this means that accident victims and their loved ones can seek just compensation for significant, permanent and fatal injuries.
When is a driver’s conduct considered to be “reckless” or “aggressive”? Common examples include:
- Changing lanes or passing improperly
- Crossing a yellow or double-yellow line
- Driving “in willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of others
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Excessive speeding
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Fleeing law enforcement
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Speeding up to try to “beat” a yellow light
- Street racing
Reckless and aggressive driving behaviors increase the risks of serious auto accidents significantly. In many cases, innocent victims are left helpless to avoid serious injuries. In addition to facing fines, loss of their driving privileges and other penalties in criminal or traffic court, reckless and aggressive drivers can – and should – be held liable for their victims’ losses as well.
FAQs: Filing an Insurance Claim After an Accident Involving Reckless or Aggressive Driving
Q: Does auto insurance cover reckless and aggressive driving?
Yes. When you file a claim to recover your losses, you will most likely be filing a claim with the reckless driver’s or aggressive driver’s insurance company. If you can prove that he or she was driving dangerously, then the insurance company will be obligated to pay for your financial and non-financial losses.
However, even if you know that the other driver was acting recklessly or aggressively, convincing the insurance company of this fact is another matter entirely. As a result, it will be important for you to hire an experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney to handle your claim. As discussed below, there are several other important reasons to hire an attorney as well.
Q: If the driver who hit me or my loved one was arrested, does this mean that I will be compensated?
No. When a driver is arrested for reckless or aggressive driving, he or she will face prosecution in the Florida courts. Reckless driving is prohibited by Section 316.192 of the Florida Statutes, and aggressive driving is prohibited by Section 316.1923. However, the driver’s criminal or traffic court case will not result in an award of financial compensation. In order to recover just compensation for your losses, you will need to take legal action on your own.
Q: Can I use the other driver’s ticket or conviction to prove my claim for damages?
Generally speaking, no. A ticket is not proof of liability; and, even if the other driver is convicted, this does not necessarily mean that his or her misconduct caused the accident. However, if the other driver pled guilty or nolo contendere to an offense that involved causing serious bodily injury or death, then his or her guilty plea may be admissible as evidence in your civil case.
As a practical matter, however, if the driver who hit you received a ticket for reckless or aggressive driving, this may influence the insurance company’s decision-making during the pre-trial settlement process. Your attorney will be able to assess all of the relevant facts and determine the best path forward.
Q: How much will my Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney try to Recover for me?
The answer to this question depends on the amount of your losses. As “compensatory” damages, the amount you are entitled to receive is determined based on what is necessary to compensate you for the harm that (i) you have endured already, and (ii) you will endure in the future. This includes all forms of financial and non-financial harm, including:
- Medical expenses
- Prescription costs
- Lost earnings
- Emotional trauma
- Post-traumatic stress
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Other out-of-pocket costs
- Other forms of non-financial harm
Q: Can I recover punitive damages for reckless or aggressive driving?
Maybe. In addition to compensatory damages, in some cases auto accident victims and their families can recover punitive damages as well. Under Section 768.72 of the Florida Statutes, punitive damages are available in cases where, “the trier of fact, based on clear and convincing evidence, finds that the defendant was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.” The statute defines “intentional misconduct” and “gross negligence” as follows:
- Intentional Misconduct – “[T]he defendant had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness of the conduct and the high probability that injury or damage to the claimant would result and, despite that knowledge, intentionally pursued that course of conduct, resulting in injury or damage.
- Gross Negligence – “[T]he defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.”
As you can see, reckless and aggressive driving behaviors will often fall into one of these categories. If the driver who hit you or your loved one was acting intentionally or being grossly negligent, then, in addition to pursuing full compensatory damages, your Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer will be able to calculate and seek appropriate punitive damages as well.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Fort Lauderdale Auto Accident Attorney
If you would like to speak with a lawyer about taking legal action against a reckless or aggressive driver in Fort Lauderdale, please contact us to arrange a free initial consultation. To discuss your case in confidence, call us at 855-908-4379 or inquire online now.