Reckless driving on South Carolina roads is a serious problem. This simple description includes a range of unsafe behaviors, and they all frequently lead to auto accidents that can completely change a person’s life. While everyone has seen reckless driving, and many have engaged in it themselves, few really recognize and fully understand the significance of these actions when they cause accidents.
Reckless driving can result in permanent disabilities, long term recoveries, lost income and future earning potential, significant pain and suffering, ongoing medical and psychological conditions, and for many people, a grief that will last the rest of their lives when a loved one is killed in an auto accident.
How Is Reckless Driving Defined by the South Carolina Code of Laws?
Any driving behavior that willfully or carelessly disregards the safety and lives of other people on the road is defined as reckless driving under Section 56-5-2920 of the SC Code of Laws. To clarify, ‘willful’ means intentional, so it’s not just human error or accidental behaviors. However, the ‘carelessly’ part, which is covered by the term ‘wanton disregard’ in the SC Code of Laws is important to note, as well.
This means that the person is behaving in a way that may not be an intentional wrongdoing, but is egregiously negligent in some way, such as texting while driving, thus disregarding the threat to other people’s lives and wellbeing on the road. If someone is pulled over for reckless driving, they will receive a citation and will likely have to pay a steep fine. However, if it happens again, they will likely have their license suspended and may even have to spend a month in jail.
When such behaviors cause serious auto accidents, the at fault individual will be in a lot more trouble, especially if someone dies or becomes disabled because of their reckless actions. Close to two thousand people are killed every year because of auto accidents, and hundreds of thousands more are seriously injured, many because of reckless driving.
Therefore, reckless driving is something to take very seriously, to talk to young drivers about, and to say something about when you see such behaviors from the driver of a vehicle that you are a passenger in. Further, it is something to avoid at all costs, yourself, which makes it worthwhile to discuss exactly what behaviors are considered reckless when driving.
What Driving Behaviors Are Considered to Be Reckless Driving?
One common example of reckless driving behavior is aggressive driving, and this could mean weaving through traffic, tailgating, or intentionally antagonizing other drivers. It is also reckless to drive at a speed greater than the posted speed limit or greater than what weather conditions reasonably allow. Anyone who drives while intoxicated by alcohol or any kind of drug is driving recklessly.
Even those who drive distracted (looking at their phones, eating, or grooming, for example) could be considered to be driving recklessly. Then, there are those who drive while they are too tired to stay awake, known as drowsy driving, and this too is considered to be reckless. This summary does not account for all examples of reckless driving, but these are the most common forms.
You Can Recover Compensation for Your Reckless Driving Auto Accident
If you have been in a South Carolina auto accident, caused by a reckless driver, then you can recover compensation from the at fault individual and his or her insurance policy. All drivers in South Carolina are required to carry auto insurance, including liability coverage and property damage coverage. However, this does not mean that all drivers follow this law.
If the at fault driver in your case does have auto insurance, as they should, then this policy should cover the expenses and damages associated with your injuries and losses. Yet, the insurance company wants to save money, and they will try to get you to settle for a lesser amount than what you are rightfully owed, so it is wise to have a South Carolina auto accident attorney in your corner, to make sure that you receive a fair settlement offer. In fact, you should avoid speaking to any representatives from the at fault driver’s insurance company without first talking to a lawyer.
If your lawyer does not get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company, then he or she will likely recommend that you take the claim to court with a personal injury lawsuit. If the at fault driver does not have auto insurance and you do not have adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then a personal injury auto accident lawsuit may be your only option for a recovery. In many cases, you will also be able to recover punitive damages, which are intended to punish the reckless driver and deter future behaviors of the same sort, when you are injured through a reckless driving accident.
To learn more about your rights and options concerning a South Carolina auto accident claim involving a reckless driver, contact a determined auto accident attorney in Greenville at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. for a free consultation.