New York Reckless Driving Accident Attorneys

In New York, reckless driving is defined by law as driving any motor vehicle in a manner which "unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway." Essentially, reckless driving is understood to be any circumstance in which a driver willfully disregards the rules of the road and the safety of others.

New York imposes strict penalties on those charged with reckless driving; it is a misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense punishable by law. Despite this, many drivers continue to resort to dangerous driving tactics. Speeding killed 9,738 people in 2018, and approximately 400,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers that same year, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA).

Car accidents caused by reckless driving can wreak havoc on the lives of those who are victims to them, resulting in serious injuries, exorbitant medical bills, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. The car accident attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy are here to help get your life back on track if you have been a victim of reckless driving. Call us at 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form today.

Our attorneys are experienced in representing car accident victims and continue to obtain top results for those hurt by reckless driving. We obtained a record-breaking $32.7 million jury verdict for a Vietnam veteran that was severely injured by an intoxicated reckless driver.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is often subjective. Speeding, racing, and drunk driving are a few examples that are often considered reckless, but each case depends on the specific circumstances. For example, speeding through a stop sign while intoxicated might be considered reckless driving, but simply failing to stop at a stop sign may not be considered as severe. The NHTSA considers drunk driving, drug-impaired driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving, and speeding to be factors that contribute to "risky driving."

The following actions, or combination of actions, are some that can be considered reckless driving:

  • Ignoring traffic signals or stop signs
  • Abrupt lane changes
  • Carrying an excess number of passengers
  • Driving under the influence, whether drugs or alcohol
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Tailgating
  • Excessive speeding
  • Racing other vehicles
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Distracted driving

When determining whether a driver's actions were reckless, the court will generally examine how the vehicle was operated and whether the individual exhibited a conscious disregard for the safety of others.

How Does Reckless Driving Impact a Victim's Life?

Reckless driving is a serious offense. When someone drives with a willful disregard for others on the road, the consequences can be disastrous for those involved in serious collisions. Victims may sustain severe injuries, which include:

  • Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash
  • Herniated discs and other spinal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries

Aside from these physical injuries, reckless driving can also affect a person's ability to continue living life as it was before the accident. Here are some other ways a reckless driving victim may be affected in the aftermath of an accident:

Increased medical bills: Victims of reckless driving will likely have expensive medical bills they would not have had otherwise, because of various injuries they have sustained in the accident. Additionally, it is possible their injuries will require them to receive treatment for years after the accident, potentially even for the rest of their life. Victims of reckless driving accidents should not have to be responsible for medical bills covering treatment they never would have needed if the accident had not occurred.

Pain and suffering: When a person suffers injuries as a result of someone else's negligence in a collision, they are entitled to compensation not only for economic damages, but also for the physical pain and suffering they experienced both during the accident and throughout the treatment of their injuries.

Inability to return to work and loss of income: Sometimes a person's injuries may be long-lasting, affecting their ability to return to full-time work. If they cannot return to their job in the same capacity as before the accident, they may lose some of their income, affecting their ability to provide for themselves and others, and affecting their quality of life.

Emotional or psychological trauma: Many people who are involved in accidents deal with emotional as well as physical pain. They may suffer from PTSD as a result of the harrowing circumstances of the accident, or they may become depressed in the aftermath when their injuries do not allow them to return to the same activities they used to enjoy.

No one deserves to struggle with these burdens. If you believe you have been a victim of reckless driving, it is in your best interest to contact a car accident lawyer who can discuss the facts of your case and determine if you are entitled to compensation for your losses.

Consequences of Reckless Driving

In New York, reckless driving is a misdemeanor, which is a criminal charge. Unlike other, lesser moving violations, reckless driving will stay on your record forever if you are found guilty. Other potential consequences if convicted of reckless driving include:

  • Imprisonment: For a first offense, drivers could go to jail for 30 days. For a second offense, the penalty is 90 days, and 180 days for a third.
  • Fines: If it is your first offense, you could be fined up to $300. A second offense could be up to $525, and a third could be up to $1,125.
  • Points on your license: Each reckless driving conviction will add five points to your license.
  • Permanent criminal record: As mentioned above, the reckless driving offense will be on your record forever. Once there, it cannot be expunged.
  • Car insurance increases: Often, car insurance premiums will increase if someone is found guilty of a reckless driving charge, because insurance companies no longer trust the offending driver to navigate the roads safely.

A reckless driving conviction can have very serious consequences that leave lasting effects on both the driver and the victim. To avoid these life-altering repercussions, make sure to follow the rules of the road, wear a seatbelt, and stay alert while driving.

Speak With an Auto Injury Lawyer Today

When reckless driving leads to an auto accident, the at-fault driver is often cited at the scene for the offense. However, reckless driving can still be the main cause of an auto accident, even if the driver does not receive a citation. Because of this, our New York auto injury attorneys begin every case by examining the applicable laws and investigating the facts to determine all possible causes of the crash.

If you've been harmed by a driver who was speeding, ignoring traffic signals, driving under the influence, or otherwise driving dangerously, you can learn your legal options today. The attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy are experienced in handling all types of reckless driving cases and offer compassionate and expert representation to injury victims.

Select results for clients injured by reckless driving include:

  • $32,756,156 verdict for a pedestrian who was struck by a driver impaired by drugs
    Firm partners Stephen J. Murphy and Daniel P. O'Toole obtained this record-breaking verdict, the largest reported non-medical malpractice verdict in Long Island history.
    Our client, a 60-year-old Vietnam veteran and retired Long Island Railroad conductor, was driving with his wife when they witnessed a car crash occur. They called 911 and waited at the scene of the crash. When our client walked over to make sure the drivers involved were okay, he was suddenly violently struck by the Defendant, who was drug-impaired and speeding through the accident scene. Our client suffered massive brain damage in addition to other serious injuries, and his life post-accident has never been the same.
  • $5,500,000 settlement for a 43-year-old man hurt in crash caused by a reckless truck driver who was speeding and making unsafe lane changes
    Our client, a home improvement contractor, was driving alongside the Defendant, who was driving a semi-truck and hauling a dump trailer. Suddenly, the Defendant cut into the left lane, forcefully sideswiping our client's truck and causing him to crash into the concrete median and back into the Defendant's vehicle. Our client suffered two herniated discs as a result of this accident.
  • $5,160,000 verdict in a Queens case for a 38-year-old driver hit by a vehicle that ran a stop sign
  • $4,600,000 settlement for a victim involved in a violent collision caused by a driver who ran a stop sign and slammed into the passenger side of the victim's car
  • $4,100,000 settlement for a 54-year-old victim who suffered multiple disc herniations after the driver of the car she was riding in behaved recklessly, causing another car to sideswipe them
  • $2,700,000 settlement in a car wreck lawsuit against a driver who made an unsafe left turn into incoming traffic in Babylon, Long Island
  • $2,550,000 settlement in a New Jersey case for victims who were hurt in a vehicle where the driver was speeding and intoxicated
  • $2,500,000 settlement for a 26-year-old woman who required multiple surgeries when a tractor-trailer rear-ended her vehicle due to distraction
  • $2,250,000 settlement for a corrections officer who suffered several severe injuries, including a brain hemorrhage, as a result of a crash in which the defendant crossed the double yellow lines on the road and hit his vehicle head-on
  • $2,200,000 recovery for a pedestrian who was hit by an NYC transit bus that was operating at an unsafe speed and failed to yield right of way in Canarsie, Brooklyn
  • $2,000,000 settlement in a Bronx case for a driver who was rear-ended by a truck that made an abrupt lane change
  • $1,941,000 verdict for an auto accident victim hurt in a collision with a driver who made an illegal U-turn across the double yellow lines in the Parkville section of Brooklyn
  • $1,800,000 settlement for a car passenger who was hit by a vehicle that was following too closely when the car she was riding made an abrupt stop in Manhattan, New York
  • $1,800,000 settlement for a 39-year-old driver who was hit by a speeding vehicle
  • $1,750,000 recovery in a Long Island case for a driver who was hit by a bus that ran a stop sign
  • $1,000,000 settlement for a crash victim hit by a car that ran a red traffic light

If you or a loved one have been hurt as a result of someone else's reckless driving tactics, you can speak with one of our lawyers today to better understand your legal options. We offer a FREE case review to all potential clients; do not hesitate to contact us today by calling 212-736-5300 or filling out our contact form. We serve New York and New Jersey.

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