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The number of accidents caused by reckless driving has dropped dramatically throughout the state of Virginia in recent years. This is due in part to the efforts of law enforcement officers in enforcing the state laws and penalties, and the efforts of legislators in increasing the penalties. 

Reckless driving is a scary situation for any driver and can result in severe injuries if an accident occurs. If you or somebody you love was injured in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, reach out to a Richmond reckless driving accident attorney to obtain compensation.

What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Code of Virginia § 46.2-868 classifies reckless driving as a Class 1 misdemeanor offense (Class 6 felony if someone died). It most often occurs when an individual drives 20 miles over the speed limit or in excess of 85 mph, regardless of limit. Reckless driving can also occur in the following scenarios:

  • Racing
  • Passing a school bus
  • Passing an emergency vehicle
  • Passing on the crest of a hill
  • Passing at a railroad crossing
  • Failure to signal
  • Faulty brakes

Other instances of reckless driving may occur but are largely based on the circumstances of the incident. A conviction for reckless driving can result in the loss of your driver’s license, penalties, and a mark on your department of motor vehicle records for up to 11 years.

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Reckless Driving Causes Injuries and Deaths

Aside from the criminal repercussions, reckless driving can also result in devastating damages to innocent bystanders in other vehicles or even pedestrians. We may all creep over the speed limit when passing another vehicle, but constant high-speed driving is reckless.

Individuals who are racing throughout the city streets are often not paying attention to their surroundings and can easily miss a pedestrian or bicyclist on the roadways. These negligent drivers should be held accountable for their actions and their blatant disregard for safety.

Traffic laws protect the citizens of the state, and you can make a civil claim for injuries. For more information regarding what constitutes reckless driving in Virginia, speak with a knowledgeable reckless driving accident attorney in Richmond.

Hopefully, you won’t endure the experience of losing a loved one to a reckless driver. But in the event of a fatal collision, a wrongful death lawyer will have your best interests at heart. 

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Personal Injury Claims From a Reckless Driving Accident

The victim of a criminal speeding or reckless driving accident is entitled to bring a claim for damages against the responsible driver. Reckless driving accidents cause extreme injuries to innocents, and the negligent behavior of those responsible should be adequately punished. A claim for damages in a reckless driving case may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Future earnings
  • Pain and suffering

An experienced reckless driving accident attorney in Richmond can assist you in calculating out the total amount of damages you are entitled to receive as a result of the injuries caused by reckless driving.

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Who Decides if a Driver Is Reckless?

Reckless driving may sound like just a ticket charge, but it’s actually a criminal violation that can send the other driver to jail. Thus, if you’re suing someone with a reckless driving charge, criminal court also comes into play.

A reckless driving claim sits at an intersection between criminal and civil court. Only the Commonwealth can charge a driver with reckless driving. If they are found guilty, that is evidence we can use to pursue significant damages.

However, if they plead no contest, your attorney will need to gather evidence suitable for a civil case to prove they drove in a reckless manner. A no contest plea means the accused does not agree that they’re guilty, but will still accept the punishment given by the state.

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Are Punitive Damages Possible in a Reckless Driving Accident?

A Richmond reckless driving accident lawyer will pursue all relevant economic and non-economic damages for your case to help you achieve the best outcome possible under the circumstances and the law.

But sometimes, a case is so reckless that it’s possible to pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages, put simply, is extra money awarded to plaintiffs by the court as a punishment against the defendant for their actions.

If your lawyer feels the merits of the case make it possible, he or she can ask the court to award these damages. Naturally, the defense might try to strike them down. Your attorney will present the best case to the court, but it is ultimately up to the judge to decide whether punitive damages are appropriate.

Call a Richmond Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one have been the victims of an accident caused by reckless driving, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of Christina Pendleton & Associates. Our Richmond reckless driving accident lawyers have years of experience in assisting our clients with damages caused by devastating accidents. 

The injuries which result from reckless driving and criminal speeding are heartbreaking and often require months of rehabilitation and medical care. We will handle your claim for damages while you focus on your recovery. For a free initial case evaluation, contact Pendleton Law today.

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