If a reckless driver caused a collision that injured you, a successful personal injury claim could provide compensation for expenses like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You should never have to pay the price for an accident due to someone else’s careless, irresponsible behavior.
At the Olson Law Firm, LLC, we are committed to helping car accident victims in Golden seek the money and the justice they deserve. Our Golden reckless driving accident lawyers offer free initial consultations. Finding out if you may be entitled to compensation won’t cost you a penny.
Contact us today to learn more during a free and confidential claim review.
What Is Considered Reckless Driving in Golden?
The Colorado Supreme Court defines a reckless driver as “a person who drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrically assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”
Reckless driving is similar to but distinct from careless driving, which is less serious. Examples of reckless driving behaviors include:
- Driving at speeds significantly over the speed limit
- Illegally passing another vehicle
- Driving while intoxicated
- Failing to maintain control
- Failing to yield
Golden Reckless Driving Laws
In Colorado, reckless driving is a Class 2 Traffic Misdemeanor. A reckless driving charge can apply to anyone who exhibits a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property. That applies to those driving a car, a truck, a bus, a motorcycle, a scooter, or a bicycle.
Reckless driving is a more serious offense than careless driving, which is also a Class 2 Traffic Misdemeanor, but which typically has less severe penalties. The difference between the two is primarily one of degree.
Reckless driving traffic violations are a separate legal matter from civil liability for an accident resulting from reckless driving. A reckless driver may be civilly liable for an accident even if reckless driving charges end in an acquittal or are never brought in the first place.
How Reckless Driving Causes Crashes
According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), most fatal crashes are associated with risky behavior — and risky behavior is undoubtedly an element of reckless driving. There are many ways that a reckless driver can cause an accident.
Distracted driving — talking on the phone, texting while driving, or performing any other action that takes a driver’s focus away from the road — is a common contributing factor in crashes. Driving at excessive speeds is another common cause of reckless driving car accidents in Golden. High speeds give a driver less time to stop or otherwise react to changing road conditions, making a collision much more likely.
Some common causes of reckless driving accidents in Golden, CO include:
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals
- Changing lanes without warning
- Sudden braking
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Executing illegal driving maneuvers
- Failing to use headlights at night
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
Injuries Caused by Reckless Driving Car Accidents
Reckless driving can result in major accidents, which in turn cause severe injuries. Some common injuries caused by reckless driving include:
- Traumatic brain injuries – A TBI can be a lifelong injury.
- Facial injuries – Trauma to the face may require cosmetic repair, and some scars may never heal.
- Broken bones – Fractures often require surgery and months of recovery.
- Internal injuries – These may include internal bleeding and damaged organs.
- Spinal cord injuries – Damage to the spinal column can result in decreased mobility and even paralysis.
- Amputations – Both traumatic and surgical amputations can result in the loss of limbs.
- Burn injuries – Severe burns can be disfiguring and painful.
- Lacerations – Deep cuts lead to excessive blood loss, which necessitates transfusions and causes scarring.
- Joint injuries – Damage to joints can lead to lessened mobility and lifetime pain.
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Golden
Courts will consider many factors when applying penalties in a reckless driving case. For example, a judge will consider:
- The types of reckless actions
- Where those actions took place
- If there were injuries and how severe the injuries were
- Whether this was a first offense or if the driver has had other offenses
- Any other factors relevant to the case
In general, the penalties for reckless driving as a first offense are between 10 and 90 days in jail and between $150 and $300 in fines. For a second or a subsequent offense, a reckless driver may have to spend 10 days to six months in jail and pay up to $1,000 in fines.
A reckless driving conviction will also add eight points to the offender’s driver’s license. That may lead to increased insurance costs, as well as the suspension of the driver’s license if the driver has already accumulated points. If another party dies due to a reckless driving accident, the driver may be charged with vehicular homicide.
Liability in Reckless Driving Accidents
In addition to – or instead of – criminal penalties for reckless driving, a motorist may face civil liability for any damages that result from their irresponsible conduct. Keep in mind that civil court uses a lower burden of proof, meaning a driver could be acquitted in criminal court but held liable in civil court.
Driving a motor vehicle with disrespect and disregard for the lives and property of others is a grave offense. But there may be times when other parties may also be liable for a reckless driving accident.
For example, a trucking company that hires someone with a bad record for reckless driving may be liable if their driver causes an accident. Likewise, a rideshare company may be partly liable if their driver’s reckless behavior causes a collision.
Get Help from Our Golden Reckless Driving Accident Attorneys
Being injured by a reckless driver can be painful, frightening, and expensive. It is only fair that you should be compensated for that.
At Olson Law Firm, LLC, we are ready to advocate for your rights and fight for the money you deserve. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to provide answers to the questions you have.
The sooner you reach out to our Golden reckless driving attorneys, the sooner we can help. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.