Reckless Driving in Residential Areas
Residential neighborhoods are supposed to be a safe place for families to live, play, and go about their daily activities, not a place to drive recklessly or with willful or wanton disregard for others. Unfortunately, not every driver adheres to the speed limit or the other rules of the road when traveling through a subdivision, cul-de-sac, historic district, retirement community, or other area where there is a high percentage of homes, apartments, or condominiums. The results of a motorist’s disregard for the rights of others may quickly turn tragic, injuring innocent pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, or passengers. If your family has been hurt by the actions of a reckless driver, the skillful Pembroke Pines car accident lawyers at Cohn & Smith are here to answer your questions and help you pursue compensation from the reckless driver.Assert Your Rights by Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Under Florida law, a person may be convicted of reckless driving upon a finding that they drove a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. While a conviction of reckless driving may result in the defendant being fined, going to jail, and having to live with the stigma of a misdemeanor or felony conviction on their record, a defendant’s criminal conviction does not automatically result in the payment of compensation to a person injured by the defendant’s conduct. The criminal court may order the defendant to pay restitution to the injured person, but the amount typically does not come close to fully compensating the victim and their family for what they have been through.
Thus, the most effective way for a person hurt by a reckless driver to receive fair compensation is through a lawsuit filed in the civil court system. Typically, such a claim may include allegations of both recklessness and simple negligence. If the plaintiff in the case is successful in proving the elements of duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages, they may be awarded a judgment for damages such as pain and suffering, past and future medical care, and lost earnings. Punitive damages may also be a possibility. If the defendant has motor vehicle liability insurance, the insurance company (rather than the defendant) usually pays the judgment. In some cases, this payment may be expedited through a pre-trial settlement between the parties.
If the defendant does not have liability insurance, or if they have insurance in a lesser amount than what it would take to fully compensate the plaintiff, the plaintiff may seek payment from their own uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance carrier. Regardless of who pays the settlement or judgment, the plaintiff’s own negligence may also be considered in determining the damages that they are due. However, some damages still will be available as long as the plaintiff was not completely at fault.Discuss Your Car Accident Case with a Pembroke Pines Lawyer
A person or family hurt by a reckless driver must make a claim against the responsible party within the four-year statute of limitations in Florida for personal injury claims or the two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. If the injured person will be relying in whole or in part on UM/UIM coverage, they must also give notice to their insurance company within the time set by the contract or policy of insurance between the insured and the insurer. The Pembroke Pines car accident attorneys at Cohn & Smith can help you get started on your case if you or a loved one has been hurt by an act of reckless driving in a residential area. Call us at (954) 431-8100 or contact us online to discuss your situation at no charge. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers also represent people in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Davie, Weston, Sunrise, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Aventura, and cities throughout North Dade County.