What is Considered Reckless Driving in Georgia?
Posted in Car Accidents on December 28, 2018
We have all heard the term “reckless driving”, but do we really know what it means? Do we know what actions Georgia law considers reckless, or what the consequences could be if we are in an accident? Reckless driving is considered a crime, but you don’t have to break the law in order to be reckless. Sounds confusing, right? Allow our Atlanta auto accident attorneys to clear things up by taking a look at what is considered reckless driving in Georgia.
What is Considered Reckless Driving in Georgia?
As we mentioned before, a person doesn’t have to break the law in order to be reckless. They just have to make a bad decision – maybe once, or maybe more often than they would like to admit. In Georgia, reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor crime. Georgia law defines reckless driving as “any person who drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property…”.
Almost anyone who has ever driven in Atlanta would argue that they have witnessed numerous occasions where drivers have disregarded the safety of others. As for what the law considers reckless, there are many possibilities, but the primary behaviors associated with reckless driving cases include:
- Weaving through traffic
- Using the shoulder or emergency lane to pass
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Failure to yield to signs, signals, or crosswalks
- Aggressively tailgating (following too closely)
- Driving too fast for weather or road conditions
- Texting, eating, reading, or being otherwise distracted
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is below the legal limit, you still could be charged with reckless driving).
As you can see, there are many actions that may be considered reckless driving. If you have been injured in an auto accident and believe that another driver was reckless, it is best to contact a personal injury attorney to learn more about state laws and your legal rights.
What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?
In Georgia, there are criminal penalties for reckless driving. It is considered a misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by the following:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Imprisonment of up to 12 months
- Four points added to driving record
- Increased insurance premiums
Individuals convicted of reckless driving who cause the serious injury or death of someone else may face more serious criminal penalties. Serious injury caused by a vehicle is a felony offense, and is punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
Reckless driving is a criminal offense with these, and potentially other penalties. However, if you have been injured by a driver who was reckless, you may be entitled to take civil action against that individual. Any civil claims you file would be separate from criminal penalties.
Reckless Driving and Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims hinge on your being able to prove that negligence was the cause of your injuries. The way that reckless driving factors into personal injury claims is that a criminal charge or conviction of reckless driving can make your case stronger. Remember that the driver responsible for the accident does not have to be charged with any crime in order for his or her actions to be deemed negligent or reckless.
If the driver was found to be reckless, or was convicted of reckless driving, then it helps prove that you are the victim. This is helpful in securing compensation for your injuries and losses. If the driver was convicted of reckless driving, then you may also be able to pursue punitive damages in your personal injury claim. Punitive damages are a way of punishing someone in civil court, making them pay you for the damage they caused. Punitive damages are also designed to deter drivers from repeating the same reckless behaviors, but the effectiveness of this method is undetermined.
Get Legal Help with Your Reckless Driving Personal Injury Claim
If you have been injured in an accident caused by reckless driving, you should act quickly to explore your legal rights. Regardless of whether another party has been charged with reckless driving as a criminal offense, he or she should be held accountable for their actions and any harm caused. That includes being held accountable via civil claims like a personal injury lawsuit.
At The Dixon Firm, we work with clients throughout the Metro Atlanta area who have been hurt in auto accidents. Contact us today to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys about your accident case. We will thoroughly investigate your situation and determine what your best options are to get the compensation you deserve. To contact us, call our office at 404-733-1166, complete our online form, or start a live chat via our website.