Reckless driving is not only suicidal for the driver, but extremely dangerous for everyone who shares the road. This type of moving violation is defined in the state of Louisiana under Statute RS 32:58 as “any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roads” who does not “drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” Failure to do so constitutes “careless operation.”
Reckless operation of a motor vehicle is categorized as a misdemeanor with fines up to $200 and incarceration up to 90 days. When reckless driving or falling asleep at the wheel causes the death of another person, court-approved community service for up to 250 hours and driver’s license suspension of two years is also recommended in addition to the usual penalties.
Lafayette motorcycle injury lawyers are experts in understanding the law and what constitutes “reckless” behavior behind the wheel. They gather every resource possible to prove that their clients’ injuries were directly caused by another person’s negligent and wanton behavior while driving. More than inattentiveness, distraction, and drowsiness, lawyers seek to paint the reckless driver as an impulsive, aggressive driver with a pattern of poor decision-making. Assistance from medical examiners, accident reconstruction experts, eyewitnesses, traffic cameras, and police reports can aid in building a substantial case.
Reckless driving may involve:
- Driving under the influence: The use of drugs and alcohol fall under “DWI/DUI” law typically, but they can also be used as grounds for a reckless driving charge as well – especially if the driver’s intoxication levels are well above the legal limit.
- Driving without lights: Officers tend to be lenient for drivers who have a taillight or headlight blown out. Drivers typically receive tickets that can be waived if they replace the lamp within a reasonable timeframe. They are less lenient if the driver has been ticketed, but continues to drive without the light replaced – or if the driver is simply driving in the darkness without switching the lights on.
- Failure to signal: Changing lanes, making U-turns, or turning without a signal makes the driver’s intent less clear to others on the road. At highway speeds, it is best to wait five seconds after signaling and before carrying out the intended lane change. Drivers who are unable to meet the speed limit or who need to stop on the side of the road are advised to use their four-way flashers to warn others.
- Ignoring traffic control devices: Failure to yield right of way is a common traffic infraction leading to injuries and death. Drivers who run a red light or stop sign at an intersection are unnecessarily gambling with their lives and jeopardizing the lives of others.
- Speeding: Ignoring posted speed limits is one of the most common moving violations. Driving too fast is particularly dangerous because it reduces the reaction time to adjust to changes in the traffic and results in the most severe injuries upon impact. Most states consider speeding particularly “reckless” if the driver is going 15 mph or more over the posted limit at the time of the motorcycle accident.
- Street racing: Racing on public roadways is against the law in Louisiana, but it has been known to happen. Officers respond to complaints of “fast and furious” activity on the roads, but they do not patrol for it.
- Sudden braking: Inattentive drivers may slam on the brake suddenly and without warning, leaving the subsequent drivers little to no reaction time to slow down. Sudden braking is especially dangerous when the roads are slick and wet.
- Weaving and tailgating: Moving in and out of traffic or riding up on another person’s bumper reduces reaction time and makes a crash more likely if a sudden stop is required. Drivers should always be able to see the license plate of the vehicle behind them. Following distance of at least three seconds is recommended.
A skilled motorcycle lawyer will argue for compensation to cover:
- Medical bills related to acute and long-term injury care
- Lost wages and loss of future income
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Disability and loss of enjoyment in life
- Funeral expenses and wrongful death
People often wonder if they can still recover damages even when their driving may be considered “reckless.” Say you were weaving in and out of traffic on your motorcycle when a motorist slammed into you, causing horrific injuries. In the state of Louisiana, you are entitled to pursue damages from any individual who played a role in the accident. The courts may reduce the total amount you can recover based on the percentage of your own fault, but you may still stand to collect thousands of dollars to compensate for your suffering.
It is always a good idea to consult with a motorcycle lawyer if you have been injured as a result of reckless driving. Insurance companies are notorious for failing to pay fair amounts in these cases. An experienced accident attorney will fight for your rights and know what just compensation means for your particular case. Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney Bart Bernard offers free consultations and charges nothing for legal services unless he wins money on your behalf.