Reckless Driving Accident Lawyers in Pensacoladriving is a major traffic offense that puts the lives of everyone on the road in greater danger. Florida law defines reckless driving as “driving any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” (Title XXIII, Chapter 316). In other words, this is an intentional and purposeful act that demonstrates a mindset of indifference to the fact that this behavior could result in serious damage to property and severe and catastrophic injuries to others.
Florida takes reckless driving very seriously, and those guilty of this offense will likely face both criminal and civil liability. Sadly, for those injured because of the reckless actions of another driver, their lives can be altered severely in a matter of seconds. A major injury can suddenly mean facing the prospect of being out of work for several weeks or even months, skyrocketing medical bills, untold pain and suffering, and the uncertainty of not knowing when (or even if) your life will return to normal.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a reckless driving accident, you deserve to be fully compensated. But don’t expect the insurer for the responsible party to do the right thing and pay you what you are entitled to. Insurance companies are for-profit entities, and their primary motivation is to minimize their losses by paying out as little as possible when one of their clients causes injury. For this reason, you need a strong advocate by your side who is looking out for your best interests.
At the Law Offices of Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A., we understand that being injured in an auto accident through no fault of your own can take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families, and we fight hard for every dollar of compensation you deserve. Our lawyers have over 60 years of combined experience representing clients who have been injured in reckless driving accidents and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in Florida, and we have a proven track record of success with these types of cases.
We routinely go up against large insurance companies, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources. We know the common tactics they frequently use to diminish the value of a personal injury claim, and we know how to successfully thwart these tactics and secure full and fair compensation on behalf of each client we serve. We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators. When possible, we look to secure a settlement that justly compensates you for your injuries. If the other side is not willing to be reasonable, however, we are ready and able to aggressively pursue full damages at trial.
Common Examples of Reckless Driving
Florida requires drivers to exercise ordinary and reasonable care and due caution to help ensure the safety of others they share the roads with. As we are all aware of the potential for deadly consequences when we collide with another vehicle, most drivers follow these requirements. Unfortunately, there are those who, for whatever reason, breach this duty of care, often with catastrophic results.
Some of the most common behaviors that may constitute reckless driving in Florida include:
- Excessive speeding (i.e., driving more than 20 MPH over the speed limit);
- Street/drag racing;
- Playing “chicken”;
- Running stop signs or red lights;
- Following the vehicle too closely (i.e., tailgating);
- Weaving in and out of lanes;
- Passing other vehicles in the dangerous manner;
- Passing a school bus illegally;
- Failing to yield the right of way;
- Driving without headlights on after dark;
- Texting while driving and other forms of electronic activity while behind the wheel;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Damages Available for those Injured in Reckless Driving Accidents
The actions of a reckless driver can cause substantial injuries to others who are unfortunate enough to be in their path. Some of the most common injuries that may result from a vehicle collision include:
- Head and facial injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries;
- Herniated disc;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Fractures/broken bones;
- Amputations/loss of limbs;
- Internal injuries;
- Wrongful death.
Those who suffer injury at the hands of a reckless driver are entitled to compensation. Compensatory damages can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are actual monetary losses that result from the accident and subsequent injury. Examples include past and future medical expenses, lost income, lost earning capacity, property damage, and funeral and burial costs.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are losses that are intangible and more difficult to quantify. Examples include physical pain and suffering, psychological distress, diminished quality of life, permanent disability, and disfigurement.
In more limited cases, punitive damages may be awarded when the conduct of the party responsible for the injuries is especially reckless and egregious. In general, to be awarded punitive damages, you must show that the driver acted with willfulness, malice, moral turpitude, or reckless indifference for the safety and well-being of others. This means that the driver’s behavior must go beyond what would be considered “ordinary negligence.”
Punitive damages are more attainable in reckless driving cases, because the driver’s actions will very often demonstrate the willfulness and recklessness required to meet this threshold. That said, just because punitive damages may be appropriate, this does not mean they will be awarded automatically. The plaintiff must specifically request these damages and prove that they are entitled to them.
It is important to note that in Florida, there is a cap on punitive damages in a personal injury case. In most cases, punitive damages are capped at either $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
Speak with a Knowledgeable and Compassionate Florida Reckless Driving Accident Attorney
Being injured by the actions of a reckless driver can turn your life upside down. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A. are here to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. We deal directly with the insurance company and handle all of the other complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track. Throughout the process, we provide frequent updates on the progress of your case, and we are always available to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
To schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team, call our office today at 850-500-1111 or send us a message through our web contact form.