Birmingham Reckless Driver Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
When drivers take to the roads, they do so with the understanding that they must follow all traffic laws and operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. Disregarding the rules, driving without heed, and endangering the lives of others is nothing short of reckless.
Reckless driving has become an increasingly dangerous problem on U.S. roads, especially for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable categories of drivers, since bikes are smaller, lighter, and lack the same safety features that cars and trucks have. An encounter between a motorcyclist and a reckless driver can mean traumatic and life-threatening injuries for the rider, not to mention the time and money it can take to recover from such a devastating accident.
At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, we know how serious the aftermath of an encounter with a reckless driver can be. Your physical and financial future has been put in jeopardy, and it can be frustrating to try to seek compensation on your own. Insurance companies are not always on your side, even if you weren’t at fault. In order to get the maximum amount of compensation you are owed, it pays to contact an experienced reckless driving attorney to help you navigate your way through the claims process.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a reckless driver, contact the Birmingham motorcycle accident attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP for help. We believe that reckless drivers must be held accountable for their negligent actions. We also believe that insurance companies shouldn’t treat you or your claim differently, just because you drive a motorcycle. Let us help you build a solid case and protect you from potential discrimination.
Contact us today at (205) 324-1212 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us help you get back on two wheels again.
What Is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving can take many different forms. At its core, though, reckless driving is behavior that disregards the rules of the road and the safety of others and their property. In the state of Alabama, the technical definition of reckless driving is the act of behaving “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property.”
Reckless driving continues to be one of the leading causes of auto accidents in the country, according to a 2018 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At least 33 percent of serious crashes were the result of reckless driving behaviors.
Common Types of Reckless Driving
Driving is a privilege that should be taken seriously. A car can be wielded as a dangerous weapon, causing serious and sometimes fatal injuries, especially when a motorcycle is involved. Reckless driving isn’t just dangerous; it is irresponsible and negligent. When a driver gets behind the wheel, they need to understand the full weight their actions and decisions have on not only themselves but on other drivers and riders.
Several actions and behaviors may be constituted as reckless driving, and some of the most common include:
- Unsafe lane changes
- Blocking cars from changing lanes
- Illegal passing
- Cutting off another vehicle
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to follow posted traffic signs and signals
- Failure to follow traffic laws
- Driving the wrong way
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Improper turns
Penalties for Reckless Driving
The state of Alabama recognizes reckless driving as a criminal traffic violation. A driver can be convicted of reckless driving in the state if they are found guilty of “carelessly or heedlessly” disregarding the rights and safety of other drivers and their property, or if they are not using due caution or proper speed and endangering or are likely to endanger other drivers and property.
Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor offense, and the consequences depend greatly on the circumstances of the incident and whether the driver has previous convictions. Generally, the penalties for reckless driving are as follows:
- First offense: 5 to 90 days in jail and/or $25 to $500 in fines
- Repeat offenses: 10 days to 6 months in jail and/or $50 to $500 in fines
In addition to these penalties, courts may also impose on offenders what is called an “assessment” fee. This can range from an additional $35 to $1,010 on top of any fines that may also have been imposed. Drivers convicted of reckless driving may also have their license suspended for up to six months. If a driver racks up a third reckless driving conviction within a 12-month time frame, then that driver will have their license revoked.
Injuries Associated With Reckless Driving Accidents
Reckless driving accidents cause a host of serious and sometimes fatal injuries. When a driver fails to take the health and safety of others seriously, there can be critical consequences for anyone caught in the reckless drivers’ path. The nature of the accident itself is the major determining factor when it comes to the seriousness of the injuries involved. However, many reckless driving accidents of all types result in traumatic injuries. This is because a reckless driver is typically not following the rules of the road and traffic laws.
Hitting a motorcycle while traveling at excessive speed, while running a red light, or while driving the wrong way gives the rider very little time to react and avoid the situation. An accident oftentimes ends with tragic consequences. Motorcycle riders don’t have airbags or fancy safety features, which can result in more traumatic injuries following a reckless accident. Some of the more common injuries associated with reckless driving accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Facial injuries
- Dental injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Wrongful death
Compensation for Reckless Driving Accidents
Alabama is what is considered a “fault” state when it comes to auto accidents. In a “fault” state, drivers have several avenues open to them for pursuing compensation following an accident. That is because “fault” means that the person who caused the accident is responsible for compensating the injured parties. In Alabama, if you have been hurt in an accident with a reckless driver, you may be able to recover compensation by the following means:
- Filing a claim with the at-fault drivers’ insurance company
- Filing a claim with your own insurance policy
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
The total amount of compensation you may be due depends on several factors – most importantly, the circumstances of the accident itself. This is important because Alabama is one of only a handful of states that follows a “contributory negligence” model for determining compensation distribution.
Under this regulation, if you are found to have played even the slightest part in causing an accident, you will be unable to receive compensation from the other driver, even if the other driver is significantly more at fault than you. This rule not only guides the court system on determining compensation, but it also governs insurance adjusters as well.
That is why it is so important to get an attorney on your side immediately following a reckless driving accident. An attorney will be able to conduct an independent investigation and build a solid case that demonstrates how the other driver was at fault and why you deserve to be compensated. While the numbers may vary on a case-to-case basis, in general, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
A skilled attorney will be able to help you craft a personalized and solid case demonstrating how the other driver was at fault, so that you can seek the compensation you deserve. An attorney can also advise you on the best possible option for seeking compensation, whether that is going through the insurance claims process or a lawsuit.
You can even trust your attorney to negotiate on your behalf with an insurance company to make sure you are getting every penny you deserve and aren’t being taken advantage of to keep their profit margins high.
Contact an Experienced Reckless Driving Attorney Today
Reckless drivers don’t deserve a free pass for their negligent and dangerous behavior. At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, we hold reckless drivers accountable for their actions because they deserve to face the consequences for putting you or your family in a dangerous situation. We also believe that you shouldn’t be left footing the bill for an accident you didn’t cause. That’s why the legal team at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP will aggressively work to get you the compensation you deserve following a motorcycle accident with a reckless driver.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a reckless driver, contact the team at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP for help. We will review your case and advise you of all your legal options. Call us today at (205) 324-1212 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve after a reckless driving accident.