Reckless driving is unsafe because it places others at risk of injury or even death. The law takes a particularly hard line on reckless driving in residential areas because there are more pedestrians and children present.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to the careless behavior of a driver on Virginia’s roads, you need an experienced legal advocate who will protect your rights and aggressively pursue compensation for your losses. The Virginia personal injury attorneys at Olmstead & Olmstead have decades of combined experience helping injured accident victims and their families seek just compensation from negligent parties.
What is Considered Reckless Driving in Virginia?
Even the most law-abiding citizens can make a simple mistake and receive a traffic ticket for a minor moving violation. In Virginia, some traffic offenses are considered so serious that they result in criminal charges that can lead to fines, jail time, and a license suspension. These are often labeled as “reckless driving” offenses and might include:
- Excessive speed
- Aggressive driving
- Drag racing
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle
- Driving an unsafe vehicle
- Vehicle not under control
Excessive speed in Virginia as it relates to reckless driving has several definitions per Virginia Code §46.2-862. The first is driving 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit. The second is driving more than 80 miles per hour regardless of the speed limit.
According to Virginia Code §46.2-852, a person can be charged with reckless driving if they drive their vehicle in any way that endangers another person’s life, limb, or property. Virginia Code §46.2-853 also considers it reckless driving when someone operates a vehicle that isn’t safe, such as one with bald tires or faulty brakes.
How Insurance Companies Try to Undermine Your Case
When you are the victim of a reckless driver, you might think that the circumstances surrounding your accident will make processing your claim a simple matter. This often isn’t the case at all. The reckless driver’s insurance company should pay for your losses without hesitation, but this isn’t how insurance companies operate. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so they will do everything in their power to minimize their client’s responsibility for a crash and even frame the accident so that you take a portion of the blame.
One of the most serious issues with Virginia car accidents is the way that the Commonwealth treats negligence. Unfortunately, Virginia is one of the few states in the nation that uses the contributory negligence rule. This means that if you are found to be just one percent at fault in an accident, you are barred from recovering compensation from the other party. This would be the case even if the other party were guilty of reckless driving. This may sound unfair, but it’s the law, and it is something that insurance companies will attempt to exploit to their advantage.
To stand up to these large insurance companies, you often need to play hardball. Putting up a fight can be a challenge if you’ve just been involved in a traumatic car crash. The knowledgeable and aggressive car accident attorneys at Olmstead & Olmstead know how to deal with insurance companies and their representatives on your behalf so that you can receive the benefits you deserve.
Pursuing Damages in a Reckless Driving Case
When a person operates a motor vehicle without concern for the well-being of others, there’s a good chance that they will face legal consequences. That reckless driver might face criminal charges based on their violation of Virginia’s reckless driving laws, which could help your personal injury case.
Many accidents carry both short and long-term consequences for their victims. For example, you may be faced with unexpected medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering due to the crash. You have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the reckless driver, but also must prove your case.
Car accident cases often operate under the negligence theory, which means that the injured party must show that the other driver breached a duty which caused the damages. If a defendant has been convicted of violating Virginia’s reckless driving laws or has pled guilty in a criminal case, this conduct could be used as evidence in a civil case to show a breach of duty.
If You’re the Victim of a Reckless Driver
The first thing you should do if you are the victim of a reckless driver in Virginia is to seek medical attention. Make sure that you document and receive proper treatment for any injuries, always keeping copies of medical reports and bills for your records. Next, request a copy of the police report and any witness statements. Take photos of the damage, the accident scene, and even your injuries for your accident file.
Report your accident to your insurance company but avoid giving formal statements until to you speak with a qualified Virginia car accident attorney. Never admit fault in an accident and refrain from speaking with the other party’s insurance company or representatives before our lawyers can meet with you to discuss your options.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
Reckless drivers should be held accountable for their actions, particularly when those actions result in injury or loss of life. Serious injuries resulting from car accidents can be expensive. Victims might be left paying out-of-pocket for medical care and other expenses, including lost wages. No one should be forced to face this financial burden alone because of the careless acts of another driver.
At Olmstead & Olmstead, our Virginia accident attorneys can help you and your loved ones begin the process holding a negligent driver legally responsible for the harm they have caused. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys cares about the wellbeing of your family, and we want to do everything possible to help you get your life back. Contact our office today at (703) 361-1555 or online to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your case.