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Defining Reckless Driving in Auto Accident Cases

There are a few terms or descriptors that will often be found in liability cases involving auto accidents, and one of the most well-known here is "reckless driving." A party engaged in reckless driving is much more likely to be found liable in a given car accident than one who is not, and knowing how to define reckless driving in these settings is one important piece of navigating these cases.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we provide the most trusted car accident attorney services you'll find in Salt Lake City, Draper, Provo and nearby areas of Utah. We assist our clients with every part of the process in helping them obtain their due compensation if they were injured by the fault of another party in an auto accident, and reckless driving is a common topic discussed in these cases. Here are some of the key behaviors that tend to qualify as reckless driving, from those you were likely aware of to a few you may not have considered entirely - but which could be impactful in your case.

defining reckless driving auto accident

Driving Under the Influence

One of the more well-known and obvious connections between a car accident and reckless driving is the involvement of alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicating substance. If another party involved in an accident was impaired while driving, they are much more likely to be found liable than if they had been sober while on the roads.

Even if DUI charges are not pursued by law enforcement, their documented intoxication can still play a role in the legal proceedings of a given case.

Excessive Speeding

Another relatively well-known form of reckless driving that's pretty constant across borders and regions is excessive speeding. Driving over a certain speed limit, typically significantly over it, can be considered a case of reckless driving that could have an impact on the results of the legal proceedings.

And in liability cases, it's not even necessary to prove that the offender was actually driving over the speed limit – simply having evidence of their intent to do so can be enough.

Driving the Wrong Way

While these situations are somewhat rarer, they are still considered reckless and can lead to serious consequences when a car accident is involved. Drivers who make the mistake of driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street or highway are much more likely to be found liable by a judge or jury than if they had been driving just under the speed limit and following all other traffic signs.

In many cases, this sort of behavior is accompanied by some kind of driving under the influence or other forms of negligence, making it even easier for victims to make the case for reckless driving.

Distracted Driving

There are several forms of distracted driving that may qualify as reckless driving, including:

  • Texting: Texting while driving is illegal in many states and widely considered a form of reckless driving.
  • Eating: Eating while behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as texting, particularly if it involves taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel for extended periods of time.
  • Talking on a phone: It's also illegal to talk on a phone while driving in many states, and this can be considered reckless driving if the other party is found to have been doing it at the time of the accident.

Now, some of these forms of distraction can be pretty nuanced in resulting liability cases - mainly because proving that the other party was actually doing it can be difficult. However, if there is evidence or proof of negligence regarding any type of distracted driving, the odds of a judge or jury finding recklessness increase substantially.

Running Any Police Barricade or Related Area

Another form of reckless driving that may not be as well-known but can still lead to substantial legal consequences is running any barricade or related area, such as roadblocks, stop signs or traffic lights.

Any of these violations can be considered reckless driving, and the other party involved in an accident may be found liable if evidence shows that they had done so.

Swerving Behavior

Finally, swerving behavior - such as weaving in and out of lanes - is also considered reckless driving. If the other party has been found to have done this, it may lead to a liability case in which recklessness was involved.

Ultimately, understanding the many types of reckless driving can be key to navigating liability cases in the event of auto accidents. Being familiar with these terms and behaviors will help ensure that you or your attorney are prepared to make a case for recklessness in court - if necessary.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we are well-versed in the legal implications of recklessness and auto accidents. Our experienced attorneys can help you determine whether reckless driving was involved in your case and how best to proceed with any related liability proceedings. Feel free to contact us today for more information or a consultation about any personal injury case in SLC, Draper, Provo or other parts of Utah.


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