On the roadways, we need to trust that other drivers will follow the rules, so we can all get where we are going safely. And since everyone knows that a vehicle collision can result in serious and catastrophic injuries, most of us follow the best safety practices and do everything we can to avoid an injury. Unfortunately, there are those who choose to drive recklessly, putting themselves and others on the road in greater danger.
In Virginia, reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, and a conviction for this offense can carry heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, demerit points on their driving record, and even jail time. But when another driver’s recklessness causes a serious accident, those who are injured have very little concern about the criminal penalties that the driver faces. Because for them, this is a life-altering event.
While the consequences for the reckless driver may last a year or so, those who are severely injured half to live with the pain and suffering of the injury for an extended period of time. While this is happening, medical bills pile up, and they often have to miss a lot of time from work. And if the injury is permanent and debilitating, they may not be able to go back to work at all. If you or someone close to you was injured in a reckless driving accident, you need strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard for maximum compensation.
At Schilling & Esposito, we understand that auto accident injuries can cause a major hardship for victims and their families, and we work hard to make the legal process as smooth and seamless as possible. Our attorneys have in-depth experience and extensive knowledge of Virginia personal injury law, and we put this experience to work to advocate aggressively for the rights and interests of each client we serve.
We work closely with our clients, and we handle the entire process from start to finish. We take care of all the complicated legal tasks, and we negotiate directly with the other side, so you can focus on your recovery. In the case of a reckless driving accident, there is usually very little doubt about who was at fault. In many instances, this will prompt the other side to seek a settlement that fairly compensates you for your injuries. If the other side is not willing to be reasonable, however, we are prepared from the outset to pursue full damages at trial and upon appeal if necessary.
Reckless Driving Accidents in Virginia
Reckless driving is similar to and more serious than aggressive driving. In Virginia, both are misdemeanor criminal offenses, and both are dangerous practices that can cause serious accidents. The Commonwealth has several different code sections that address reckless driving, here are three of the most common:
VA Code § 46.2-862: Excessive speeding – driving more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit or exceeding 80 miles per hour.
VA Code § 46.2-853: Failure to maintain control of the vehicle, including failing to properly maintain safety equipment such as brakes.
VA Code § 46.2-852: Driving in a way that puts others on the road in danger, regardless of how fast you are going. This is a “catch-all” section that may include a wide range of unsafe driving practices; such as falling asleep at the wheel, driving the wrong way down a one-way street, and parking on a highway.
Other code sections that address reckless driving in Virginia include:
Driving at an excessive speed for the road conditions (Va. Code § 46.2-861)
Illegally passing a school bus (Va. Code §46.2-859)
Turning, slowing down, or stopping without giving a proper signal (Va. Code § 46.2-860)
Failure to yield the right-of-way (Va. Code § 46.2-863)
Street/drag racing (Va. Code § 46.2-865)
Passing a vehicle on a hill, curve, or anywhere there is an obstructed view (Va. Code § 46.2-854)
Pursuing a Reckless Driving Injury Claim in Virginia
As mentioned previously, injuries that come at the hands of a reckless driver can be serious and debilitating. And when this occurs, those who are injured are entitled to compensation. Compensatory damages can be divided into two general categories:
Economic Damages: These are actual monetary losses that the victim incurs, such as hospitalization costs, costs for surgeries and other types of medical treatment, rehabilitation expenses, costs for ongoing medical care, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and funeral and burial expenses (in the case of wrongful death).
Non-Economic Damages: These are losses that are real, but they are more intangible and difficult to quantify. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, disfigurement, permanent disability, and loss of guidance and support.
In more limited cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the party responsible for the accident and help deter them (and others) from similarly egregious behaviors in the future. In Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $350,000.
With a reckless driving accident claim, punitive damages may be more attainable, but the plaintiff must still demonstrate that the defendant acted with actual malice in causing the accident. This is one of many reasons it is strongly advisable to work with an attorney who has in-depth experience with this area of the law and the proven ability to recover maximum compensation for injury victims.
Contact a Seasoned Richmond, Virginia Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer
Being injured at the hands of a reckless driver can turn your whole world upside down. At Schilling & Esposito, we are here to provide skilled legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. Our initial consultations are always free, and if we take your case, it will be on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation on your behalf. Throughout the process, we communicate regularly with our clients, providing frequent updates on the progress of your case and always responding promptly whenever you have questions or concerns.
To schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced Virginia auto accident attorneys, call our office today at 804-261-1001 or message us through our web contact form. You may also stop by our office in person at your convenience.