Reckless driving is a crime in New York, and convicted drivers are guilty of a misdemeanor. Reckless behavior also endangers the safety and lives of motorists, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians who have the unfortunate luck of sharing the road or occupying adjacent walkways with the irresponsible driver.
Reckless behavior potentially caused a significant portion of the 8,541 accidents on N.Y.C. roads between January and July 2022. Accidents during these seven months led to 35 fatalities and 4,693 injuries. If you sustained injuries due to another party’s reckless driving behaviors, a Cellino Law Melville, N.Y., reckless driving accident lawyer could assist you in pursuing a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
What Is Reckless Driving?
According to New York’s Vehicle and Traffic laws, reckless driving is any behavior that constitutes an unreasonable threat to the safety of others or interference in road use by others. The statute is broad and encompasses a wide range of behaviors, including the following:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- Swerving in and out of traffic
- Passing in a no-passing zone
However, not every behavior that could be reckless driving is in every case. Reckless driving usually implies a willful or intentional disregard for others’ well-being. The severity of the behavior and danger it poses come into play when law enforcement submits a reckless driving charge.
A conviction results in fines and potential jail time if a driver is charged with this misdemeanor crime following the accident that caused your injuries. A charge or conviction would also provide you with material evidence for your case.
Common Injuries From a Reckless Driving Accident
Reckless drivers often engage in behaviors that result in serious accidents. These accidents frequently lead to significant injuries that can have long-term and sometimes permanent effects. Some of the more common physical harms seen in reckless driving accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal injury
- Severe burns
Reckless driving accidents also cause fatalities. If someone you love died in an accident due to another motorist’s reckless behavior, you may have a right to pursue wrongful death compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
What Does a Melville, NY, Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer Do for You?
Nothing bars you from pursuing a claim without legal representation. However, obtaining legal counsel provides you with support from someone with the experience and knowledge needed to navigate a lawsuit. Furthermore, legal proceedings often demand more time and resources than accident victims or their loved ones can commit to.
Reckless driving accident lawyers should always offer a free case evaluation before you retain their services. The point of the consultation is to give you a clear idea of your case’s potential for success. An attorney evaluates the known facts for legal merit, providing a professional opinion of your options and the best way forward. If you retain services, the work involved in completing a legal claim begins.
Building Your Case
A charge or conviction of reckless driving isn’t enough on its own to win your lawsuit. While the police report or criminal court proceedings are crucial evidence, you need more proof that the other driver is responsible for your injuries. You must prove that the other party’s reckless behavior caused or contributed to the accident and that the accident caused your injuries.
Your attorney gathers evidence to support your claims of liability and harm, including non-economic damages. The lawyer may seek out the following types of evidence:
- Police reports and legal documents
- Accident investigation reports
- Photos and videos
- Physician and therapist reports
- Witness statements
- Professional statements
Using the evidence, a Melville, N.Y., reckless driving accident lawyer constructs a solid case supporting your claim.
Your attorney also understands the impacts of New York’s personal injury laws, including the state’s pure comparative fault rule. This law impacts how much of the awarded damages you walk away with. If you hold some liability for the accident, you won’t receive the total damages awarded. For example, if you are found to be 30% at fault, you receive 70% of the settlement. The stronger your case, the more likely you will receive fair compensation.
Calculating the Damages
Lawyers have the knowledge required to determine the full extent of your losses. The only hard figures you can calculate are those related to costs you already accrued. However, your injuries may result in long-term impacts on your health and well-being.
Your attorney knows how to determine projected expenses related to your injuries. Furthermore, not all harms have a direct monetary impact but deserve compensation, nonetheless. If you suffer from physical pain, emotional trauma or loss of relationship quality and enjoyment of life, your lawyer can calculate damages for those injuries.
Filing Your Legal Documents
When you pursue a legal claim, you must initiate the proceedings by filing a petition in the courts. The petition is a legal document that provides crucial information such as the nature of the complaint, who is involved, the facts in the case and the legal justification for filing. A Melville, N.Y., reckless driving accident lawyer can complete your petition, ensuring the information provided is complete and accurate.
It’s essential to note that you have a deadline for filing established in New York law. The statute of limitations is a firm timeframe for submitting your petition. If you don’t initiate proceedings within this time, you lose your right to file. The personal injury statute of limitations is three years. We urge you to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to ensure you can meet this deadline should you decide to pursue a legal claim.
Negotiating Your Settlement
Filing a lawsuit does not mean you will see the inside of the courtroom. Most personal injury cases begin with negotiations between the plaintiff and defendant. The defendant’s representation handles the negotiations for the other side. Their goal is to ensure the best outcome possible for their client. To that end, they will use the law, your statements and the facts they gather to reduce their client’s liability.
However, the defense is generally invested in settling outside of the courtroom. They are unlikely to accept a settlement agreement out of hand. Negotiations can be tricky, but your accident attorney knows how to handle them, defending your rights and fighting to obtain a fair settlement for you. Your lawyer provides legal advice throughout the process and won’t settle unless you feel the terms are acceptable.
Representing You at Trial
If you and the defense cannot reach a satisfactory settlement, a Cellino Law Melville, N.Y., reckless driving accident lawyer will not hesitate to take your case to trial. Though nearly all personal injury cases reach pre-trial settlements, you should not have to agree to terms that are not in your best interest. Your attorney represents you in court, standing up for your right to a fair settlement and protecting your future.
Where Can You Find a Melville, NY, Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a reckless driving accident, a Cellino Law reckless driving accident attorney could provide you with the support you need to pursue a personal injury legal claim. We believe you deserve personalized legal counsel with attorneys who listen to you and consider your unique situation and needs. We won’t charge any fees unless we win your case, so get in touch with us today to schedule a free case review.