Birmingham Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
A significant portion of motorcycle accidents in Alabama are caused by the negligence of other drivers, and one of the most dangerous kinds of negligent driving is when a person commits a reckless driving offense. Alabama Code § 32-5A-190 establishes that a person commits reckless driving if they drive a vehicle carelessly and in willful disregard of the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner that can endanger any person or property.
Reckless driving is punishable by imprisonment and fines, but it is also an incredibly dangerous practice around motorcycles whose operators are frequently powerless to avoid devastating collisions. Even when a person is charged with reckless driving, that motorist’s insurance company could still very well accuse the injured motorcyclist of having been at fault for their crash.
Are you a person who suffered serious injuries or was your loved one killed in a motorcycle accident caused by another individual’s reckless driving in the greater Birmingham area? You should know that you could be entitled to many different kinds of compensation for the damage caused.
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP will develop the strongest possible case so you can have the best chance of recovering as much as possible. We can assess all of your legal options as soon as you call (205) 324-1212 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Do I Need A Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer?
Even when another driver is cited for reckless driving, the insurance company will very likely still imply or outright accuse a motorcyclist of contributing to or even causing a crash. You will want to have an experienced attorney on your side.
A lawyer will be able to bolster your case by performing their own independent investigation. This investigation will allow the attorney to actually examine the vehicles involved in the crash and gather the evidence needed to prove reckless driving was the cause.
You are going to want to have a lawyer specifically to deal with the insurance company on your behalf because the insurer will likely work hard to minimize whatever it pays you. Representatives for insurance companies frequently try to create a false sense of security by promising people that they will be taken care of when in reality, the agents have a goal of getting people to unknowingly admit to negligence that damages their injury claims.
In other cases, lump-sum settlements may be offered to victims that can seem rather large to the average person, even though they are usually much less than what victims are entitled to. An attorney will know what the true value of your case is and work to recover as close to that amount as possible.
Why Choose Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP To Handle My Case?
The record of success at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP includes several verdicts and settlements that exceeded $1 million. Our firm has been helping people in Birmingham and many surrounding communities for more than 20 years.
Kirby Farris and Ken Riley are both lifelong Alabama residents residing in Birmingham who are committed to helping the people they consider their friends and neighbors. We are active members of our community, supporting such organizations as Children’s of Alabama, United Way, Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama.
Mr. Farris and Mr. Riley are both admitted to such state and federal courts as the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, and Alabama Supreme Court. Both lawyers are also members of the Birmingham Bar Association, Alabama Bar Association, and American Bar Association.
We will always have the goal of negotiating a full and fair settlement, but we will also prepare every case for trial. We can take your case to court when an insurance company is unwilling to fairly compensate you. Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP does all of this on a contingency fee basis, so no money is owed to us until you receive a monetary award.
Types of Reckless Driving Accident Cases We Handle
Reckless driving in Alabama involves a person driving a vehicle carelessly and heedlessly without concern for the rights and safety of others, but the specific actions involved in an offense can vary. Many different behaviors could constitute reckless driving.
Some of the most common actions involved in a reckless driving offense include, but are not limited to:
- Blocking another vehicle from changing lanes
- Cutting off another vehicle
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to keep in the proper lane
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Road rage
- Careless driving
- Illegal passing
- Failure to obey traffic signs, signals, or officers
- Overcorrecting or oversteering
- Driving the wrong way
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Driving a dangerous vehicle
- Improper turns
- Ignoring traffic laws
Reckless driving is a criminal traffic violation in Alabama. A first conviction is punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment and a fine of up to $500, but a second or subsequent offense is punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.
You should know that a driver who is acquitted or otherwise avoids a conviction for reckless driving can still be held civilly liable. This is because a criminal case is completely separate from a civil case.
When a person is facing criminal charges, a prosecutor needs to prove that an individual’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest legal standard. In a civil case, a plaintiff only needs to prove a defendant’s negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, which simply means more than half of the evidence, a far lower standard.
What should I do if I am involved in a reckless driving accident?
The immediate aftermath of a crash caused by reckless driving can be extremely disorienting. While a need for medical attention is often obvious for people who have been seriously injured, the truth is that all people involved in these accidents should go to the hospital. This is true even when you do not think you have been hurt. You may not know about injuries that have delayed symptoms, and you can expect an insurance company to claim that you did not properly care for the injuries or that they were not as severe as claimed if there is any delay in your treatment.
While you are at the scene of your crash, try to take as many pictures as you can of everything that was involved in the scene of your accident. Don’t just get photographs of people and vehicles, but also be mindful of other important factors that could disappear like skid marks on concrete. Also, try to get photographs from lots of different angles and distances. It is impossible to take too many pictures. In addition, any potential witnesses who could support your claim that another driver was operating recklessly could help you, so be sure to get the names and phone numbers of anyone who saw your accident. Finally, try not to discuss the crash with anybody until you have legal representation. One very important consideration concerns social media accounts, as insurance companies will frequently turn to these accounts and use any statements victims make there against them when they demonstrate the victim’s own negligence.
What is contributory negligence?
Contributory negligence is included in Rule 8(c) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure as an affirmative defense, but it must be pleaded as an affirmative defense and the defendant has the burden of proving contributory negligence. Only four other states in the nation allow contributory negligence defenses, but they are extremely powerful because contributory negligence prohibits a person from recovering any damages whatsoever when their own negligence contributed in any way to an accident. This essentially means that a defendant has to be 100 percent at fault for an accident. However, recovery is still allowed in certain Alabama contributory negligence cases under two legal doctrines. Under the sudden emergency doctrine, a person faced with a sudden emergency by no fault of their own can be held to the same standard of care of a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances. The last clear chance doctrine also allows a defendant to be held liable when they had the last opportunity to avoid an accident, but failed to avoid it, and caused injury to the victim.
What kinds of compensation can I be entitled to for a reckless driving accident?
Settlements are common outcomes to most reckless driving cases because insurance companies will often find it cheaper to settle a case than take it to trial. Some cases will result in lawsuits, however. A person who is successful in court can be awarded compensatory damages, which are usually a combination of economic damages and noneconomic damages that may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
A very limited number of cases could also involve punitive damages, but these awards are more to punish defendants for particularly abhorrent misconduct (such as drunk driving) and a plaintiff is required to prove by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant acted with deliberate or conscious malice.
Contact a Birmingham Reckless Driving Motorcyle Accident Attorney Today
When you have sustained life-altering injuries or your loved one has been killed in a motorcycle accident caused by reckless driving in Birmingham, the process of recovering compensation can be very complicated and challenging. The good news is that you do not have to deal with all of the different issues by yourself.
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP can step right in and handle all of the necessary legwork so you can focus on your recovery. Call our Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyers at (205) 324-1212 or contact us online right now to set up a free consultation.