Reckless driving contributes to hundreds of car accidents throughout the United States every day. The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security indicates that approximately 192,914 car accidents occurred in Tennessee in 2021.
The agency also reported that approximately 1790 car accidents resulted in fatalities or serious injuries. Many of these accidents occurred as a result of reckless driving. For example, approximately 6,014 crashes occurred due to a driver traveling too fast for the road conditions. Additionally, another 21,240 accidents happened because of careless or erratic driving.
If someone’s reckless driving in Tennessee causes a car accident, an injured party can recover compensation from the at-fault driver for the harm they suffered. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by a reckless driver, contact us at Batson Nolan PLC today to speak with a reckless driving lawyer.
What Is Reckless Driving in Tennessee?
The Tennessee reckless driving law appears in Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-205. Tennessee defines reckless driving as driving a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. A driver also commits reckless driving if they ignore a flood warning sign or barricade or if they drive through a flooded area. A motorcyclist commits reckless driving if they drive with their front wheel raised off the ground, commonly referred to as a “wheelie.”
Other actions that can constitute reckless driving include:
- Excessive speeding;
- Eluding law enforcement;
- Drag racing;
- Failure to obey traffic signs and signals;
- Following too closely;
- Failure to use headlights at night;
- Driving too fast for weather conditions;
- Texting and driving; and
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Whether or not an officer charges you with reckless driving can depend on the police officer who’s making the determination. What one officer might consider a simple speeding citation, another might consider evidence that supports a reckless driving offense charge.
Tennessee considers reckless driving a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction for reckless driving will result in six points assessed against your driving record. Additionally, you can face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by a reckless driver, contact Batson Nolan PLC today. We can help obtain the compensation you need to get your life back on track as soon as possible.
Filing a Claim After a Reckless Driving Accident in Tennessee
To prevail on a personal injury claim in Tennessee, you have to show that the opposing party is liable for your injuries. This requires proving that the party was negligent.
Every driver owes a legal duty to others on the road to act as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances. A driver fulfills this duty by following relevant traffic laws and practicing safe driving. When a driver is negligent, that means they behaved in an unsafe manner and breached their duty of care. You can show proof of this negligence by presenting evidence that the at-fault driver violated traffic laws—which typically is strong proof of negligence. If the at-fault driver received a reckless driving charge, that would offer even stronger evidence that demonstrates they breached their duty of care.
Even if you can show the other party was negligent, you still need to prove that you suffered harm as a result of that negligence. That means you have to show the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. If this sounds confusing to you, you are not alone. The elements of negligence can confuse even a seasoned personal injury attorney. A reckless driving attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to prove the opposing party was negligent.
What Kind of Damages Can I Claim After a Reckless Driving Accident?
As a personal injury victim, you can seek compensatory damages designed to compensate for your losses. That includes both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate the victim for things like medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other direct monetary losses. These damages are easy to calculate because these financial losses are usually accompanied by invoices, bills, or receipts of some kind. Noneconomic damages aim to compensate for more abstract forms of harm like loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. They are significantly harder to prove because they are less tangible and are not accompanied by invoices or receipts that you can simply add up. Our legal team has extensive experience appraising non-economic forms of damages.
Unlike some personal injury claims, punitive damages might arise in the context of a reckless driving accident. Punitive damages are relatively rare because they are not compensatory in nature. Instead, they aim to punish the at-fault driver for their misconduct and deter similar actions in the future. Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-39-104 authorizes a punitive damages award if you provide clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted maliciously, intentionally, fraudulently, or recklessly. If you can meet this burden, you might recover punitive damages up to two times the amount of your compensatory damage award or up to $500,000, whichever is greater.
Injured in a Car Accident Caused by Reckless Driving in Tennessee? Contact Batson Nolan PLC Today
Filing a personal injury lawsuit can create lots of stress and confusion for anyone, especially someone who is not familiar with the civil court system. Our reckless driving attorneys at Batson Nolan PLC have extensive experience representing personal injury victims throughout Tennessee. Our team has the resources and knowledge necessary to conduct a thorough accident investigation and ascertain the amount of damages you are owed. We will review evidence from the crash location, request publicly available video footage, and question witnesses who observed the crash.
Since our founding in 1860, we have protected the rights of thousands of clients by securing the maximum recovery possible. We offer our clients personal attention as well as experienced representation. Contact us today to start your free consultation.