When motorists operate a car in a careless or reckless manner, they put other people on the road at risk for serious injuries and even death. Drivers have a legal obligation to obey the traffic laws and drive safely and responsibly. When a motorist disregards the safety of others, including their own passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and an accident occurs, the reckless motorist can be held liable for the damages and injuries he or she causes.
If you have been involved in a collision caused by a careless or reckless driver, you need to discuss your case with experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers. At Hollander Law Firm, we know just how devastating and life-changing a serious vehicle accident can be. Physical and psychological injuries, high cost medical bills and the inability to work or perform daily activities can be overwhelming for both victims and their families. When you work with our firm, you can trust that we will thoroughly investigate the crash and build a case that helps you recover the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
What is Reckless Driving in South Florida?
Under Florida Law, reckless driving occurs when a person operates a car or other vehicle with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” or flees from law enforcement while driving a motor vehicle (Florida Statute 316.192). The penalties imposed on the driver for violating the law will depend upon the number of prior offenses and the extent to which property damage or personal injuries were involved.
Even if the motorist is not found guilty of reckless driving under Florida law, the driver can still be subject to a civil lawsuit brought by the accident victim. While in some cases the accident may only be minor, a crash can result in catastrophic injuries. Careless and reckless drivers are often operating their vehicles at a high rate of speed that can cause motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and other people on the road to suffer serious harm should a collision occur.
Common Maneuvers Performed by Careless and Negligent Drivers
While reckless driving can involve a wide range of unsafe behaviors, some of the most common maneuvers performed by careless and negligent drivers include:
- Operating a vehicle significantly above the speed limit
- Driving at a speed that is inappropriate for road or weather conditions
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Illegal driving maneuvers
- Making abrupt or last-minute driving maneuvers
- Driving while intoxicated
These are just a few examples of the careless and reckless behaviors that take place every day on roads and highways in Fort Lauderdale and across the state. These driving behaviors are extraordinarily dangerous and pose a serious risk to the safety of everyone on the road.
Seeking Just Compensation After a Careless or Reckless Driving Accident with our Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyers
No matter how careless or reckless a driver may have been, his or her insurance should provide coverage for accident victims’ losses. This is true for all drivers and passengers who suffer a “significant” or “permanent” injury, as required by Florida’s no-fault insurance statute (Florida Statute 627.737). Depending on the specific nature and severity of the injury, types of injuries that can qualify accident victims to seek fault-based compensation from a careless or reckless driver’s insurance company include:
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Other injuries that result in “[s]ignificant and permanent loss of an important bodily function,” or “[s]ignificant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.”
What if your injury does not qualify as significant or permanent? First, before you reach this conclusion, you need to discuss your case with an experienced team of Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers. Judging the severity of your injury requires both legal knowledge and medical expertise, and you do not want to leave money on the table if you are entitled to a significant financial recovery.
Second, if your injury does not qualify as significant or permanent, you may still be entitled to compensation under your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy. PIP provides no-fault coverage, and most Florida residents have $10,000 available to cover their medical expenses and lost wages. While this might not be enough to cover all of your direct financial losses, it is certainly better than nothing, and an experienced car accident lawyer can help ensure that you receive the maximum coverage to which you are entitled.
What if I was Also Being Careless or Reckless?
What if you were also being careless or reckless when the accident occurred? Again, you need to avoid making any costly assumptions. Even if you were speeding or following too closely, this is only relevant if it was a factor in causing your collision.
Also, if you have a fault-based claim against the other driver, your carelessness or recklessness (if any) will only serve to diminish – not eliminate – your financial recovery. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault law (Florida Statute 768.81), shared liability reduces your financial recovery in proportion to your percentage of fault. So, let’s assume (which, again, you should not do) that you were speeding and you are deemed 25 percent at fault in the accident. If your total losses are $100,000, you would still be entitled to receive $75,000 from the other driver’s insurance company.
Experienced Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyers can Help You Protect Your Legal Rights
Issues of liability in careless and reckless driving accidents are complex, and making sure you receive just compensation requires experienced legal representation. If you have been seriously injured and would like to speak with a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free initial consultation. We handle all car accident cases on a contingency-fee basis, so you pay nothing unless we succeed in helping you recover just compensation.
Injured by a Reckless or Careless Motorist? Hollander Law Firm can Help
When a motorist disregards the safety of others and an accident occurs, the driver needs to be held accountable for his or her actions. If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a car crash that may have been caused by careless or reckless driving, we can help. When you work with our firm, a team of experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers will be at your side every step of the way. We will carefully review your case and outline your options so that you can make the right decisions for you and your family. Our office serves clients in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and throughout South Florida.
Contact us today at 954-287-0566 to schedule your appointment.