It’s one thing for a driver to be careless behind the wheel, such as by speeding or changing lanes without taking time to look for traffic. Reckless driving is an entirely different matter. In some cases, reckless driving can even be a crime under the California Rules of the Road – a much more serious offense compared to a traffic ticket or citation.
However, you may be wondering whether reckless driving is a felony, and you certainly want to know about your rights if you’re injured in a car accident that involves reckless conduct. Your Los Angeles car accident attorneys can provide essential details, but an overview may also be helpful.
Reckless Driving Classifications and Punishment
There are multiple sections regarding reckless driving in California, which are distinguishable based upon whether the motorist causes injuries, serious bodily harm, or death. To prove the basic form of reckless driving, the State of California must show that the motorist intentionally drove in a way that presented a serious, unjustifiable risk of harm – and he or she ignored it.
If someone was hurt because of reckless driving, the offense is a “wobbler.” It can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances and the motorist’s prior history. He or she could face three years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines for a conviction.
Your Rights as a Victim of a Reckless Driving Crash
The punishment for a person who’s found guilty in an injury-causing reckless driving crash may be more severe. However, no fine or jail time will compensate you for your losses if you were injured as a result of the crash. You do have legal options through a civil lawsuit, and a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help with your claim.
In such a case, you must prove that the other driver breached the duty of care, which was a direct result of the injury-causing accident. When the other motorist got a ticket, was arrested for a misdemeanor, or faced felony charges, this is strong evidence of a breach. You may be entitled to recover compensation for such losses as:
- Medical costs;
- Lost income for the time you were out of work;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress; and,
- Many other monetary damages.
In a reckless driving accident, there’s another type of damages intended to punish the motorist who operated a car with disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages may be available in car accident cases where the other driver’s actions were extreme or outrageous. When reckless driving is charged as a felony, seeking punitive damages may be appropriate.
Trust Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers to Assist with Your Claim
Reckless driving is definitely more serious than negligent conduct behind the wheel of a car, but egregious acts may not always entitle you to punitive damages. For more information on how these cases work, please contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers. We can schedule a free case evaluation to review your circumstances and explain your rights.