Car accidents can happen for various reasons. In many cases, they are unfortunate incidents that happen purely by accident, as most drivers do not intentionally act in a way to cause harm. However, even if someone causes an accident without the intent to cause harm, they were still likely acting negligently according to the law. So, what is considered reckless driving?
Negligence and recklessness, however, are not necessarily the same thing. A person who acts negligently in the moment might not be someone who always tends towards reckless behavior. For example, if a driver is temporarily distracted in the moment by their child in the back seat when they cause an accident, they will have acted negligently by taking their eyes off the road, but this doesn’t make them a reckless driver.
Reckless driving is more like a habit or behavior that occurs when someone has a lack of proper caution or a careless attitude. Drivers who are prone to this type of behavior are thus more likely to drive recklessly and cause more accidents than someone who tries to follow the rules and only occasionally acts negligently.
Unfortunately, reckless driving accidents can be quite severe and result in extensive damage and injuries. If you or a loved one are injured in an accident caused by a reckless driver, the Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Poynter & Bucheri can assist you. We are dedicated to helping our clients seek justice from reckless drivers and get the compensation they deserve.
So, what is considered reckless driving exactly? While many behaviors can be construed as reckless driving, Indiana has its own definition for legal purposes. According to Indiana Code 9-21-8-52, a person is considered to be driving recklessly when they:
- Drive at an unreasonably high speed or an unreasonably slow speed, endangering the safety of others or blocking the proper flow of traffic
- Pass another vehicle from the rear while on a slope or a curve with less than 500 feet of visibility ahead
- Weave or swerve in and out of traffic where prohibited
- Speed up or refuse to give up half of the roadway to another driver desiring to pass
- Pass a school bus that is stopped and has its arm signal device extended
In addition to this specific definition, general signs of reckless driving or acts of reckless driving can include:
- Driving above the Indiana reckless driving speed (a.k.a. driving far over the speed limit)
- Driving far under the speed limit
- Weaving in and out of traffic, cutting cars off
- Tailgating cars until they let you pass
- Purposely blocking the way to keep other vehicles from passing
- Regularly texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Purposely disobeying traffic laws and driving without care
The reckless driving Indiana punishment will depend on the exact circumstances of the individual case. Generally, the worse the offense, the worse the penalty and punishment will be. There are generally three different types of penalties a person can receive for reckless driving:
- Class C misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.
- Class B misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
- Class A misdemeanor: Up to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
Standard acts of reckless driving, such as speeding, swerving in and out of traffic when prohibited, and passing on a hill or a curve, are considered Class C misdemeanors. Passing a school bus when prohibited is a Class B misdemeanor. And reckless driving that results in bodily injury to another person is a Class A misdemeanor.
Drivers who commit these acts and are charged with reckless driving may also face having their license suspended, could get fired from their job or struggle to find a job, and can face a civil lawsuit from the party who was injured or sustained property damage.
If you are injured in an accident by a reckless driver, you will need to provide sufficient evidence to support your claim and hold the guilty party accountable. Insurance companies and even courts may not award you the full amount you deserve for your damages if there is insufficient evidence to prove what happened. This is why it is crucial for victims to work with a personal injury attorney.
An attorney can advocate for your rights and help you gather evidence to ensure the other party is charged with reckless driving. Evidence that can help support your claim and help you get the compensation you deserve includes:
- An official police report
- Medical reports/documents proving you were injured
- Video surveillance from the scene of the accident
- Eyewitness statements
- Photographic evidence of the accident scene, injuries, and property damage
- Accident reconstruction diagrams and statements given by accident reconstruction specialists
If you are involved in a reckless driving accident, our team can review your case and offer you guidance on how best to proceed. Reckless driving cases can be overwhelming, especially if you or your loved one sustained severe injuries, so it is beneficial to work with an attorney who can guide you through the process and handle the heavy lifting while you focus on rest and recovery. We will help walk you through the process to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.
Don’t hesitate — one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.