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Michigan’s 2020 Traffic Crash Statistics report showed a total of 245,432 car accidents, with nearly 61,000 of them resulting in injured persons and 1,083 resulting in fatalities. Auto accidents happen every day, and they typically are not intentional. Reckless driving, on the other hand, is always avoidable. Reckless drivers create danger for others on the road, often by driving at extremely high speeds. If you were injured in a traffic accident because of a reckless driver, you can hold that person accountable and recover compensation for damages to your person and your vehicle.

How Does Michigan Law Define Reckless Driving?

Michigan state law has specific rules addressing the issue of reckless driving. According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, anyone operating a vehicle recklessly in a public domain is guilty of a misdemeanor and could receive up to 93 days imprisonment and a fine of $500. This punish specifically refers to the action of reckless driving even without causing a car crash. Some examples of actions considered reckless under Michigan law include:

  • Violating passing laws by trying to pass on the right or outside of passing lanes
  • Failing to yield at a stop sign, red light, or right-of-way
  • Making an illegal U-Turn
  • Driving while distracted, including the use of a cellphone
  • Attempting to race other vehicles on the road
  • Driving too closely behind other vehicles
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving at excessive or dangerous speeds
  • Weaving in and out of lanes
  • Road rage
  • Driving aggressively
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Making an illegal turn
  • Failing to use headlights in the dark or the rain

These are the most common reckless driving violations. Each is a threat to the safety of other drivers and can result in penalties. If a reckless driver causes an accident, especially if the accident results in the injury of another person, the injured party has the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in the form of a personal injury claim. 

What Are the Common Injuries Caused by Reckless Driving?

Driving aggressively is always dangerous, but a careless driver in Michigan’s winter weather conditions is far more likely to cause a crash. Even small collisions can result in minor to major injuries, but a car colliding at an extremely high speed on snow or ice is exponentially more dangerous. Some common car accident injuries caused by reckless driving include:

  • Neck injuries are common even in minor crashes. For example, whiplash occurs when a sudden stop causes a rapid and forceful movement of the neck in a back and forth motion. It results in injury to the muscles, bones, and soft tissue.
  • Spinal cord injuries come in a diverse array and have drastic levels of severity. Some examples include fractured vertebrae, spine degeneration, bulging discs, pinched nerves, spinal stenosis, paraplegia, and ruptured or herniated discs. Some of the most devastating injuries happen to the spinal cord.
  • Head injuries can include anything from a minor concussion to a traumatic brain injury. There is also the potential for swelling or hemorrhaging of the brain, damage to teeth or vision, and broken bones in the face.
  • Impact injuries are the most immediately apparent. They include lacerations, bruises, and broken bones caused by the impact of the vehicles crashing. Brakes to the legs are common because of the body’s position in the vehicle.
  • Amputations are most common in accidents involving motorcycles. Arms or legs are sometimes severed by debris from the crash or from the point of collision.
  • Abdominal injuries include internal injuries to the major organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and spleen. These are sometimes missed if the victim does not seek medical care immediately following an accident. In which case, the injury can cause severe or even irreparable damage before it is treated. 
  • Psychological trauma is perhaps the most undervalued injury. Reckless driving accident victims often experience issues with anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following a major car accident. This type of injury requires ongoing treatment.

Some of these injuries result in a few days or weeks of pain and discomfort, and some can cause permanent disabilities that drastically alter the course of a victim’s life. All of them cause financial damages in the form of medical bills and lost wages

How Can You Recover Compensation in a Reckless Driving Accident?

The kind and amount of compensation you receive in a reckless driving accident depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. This includes the severity of your injuries, the amount of damage to your vehicle, and the financial costs incurred because of the accident. Reckless driving is a criminal offense, but getting financial restitution for someone injured by the driver’s negligence requires a civil claim.

Establishing Negligence

If you sustained an injury in a car accident and the negligent party was charged with reckless driving, you already have a strong case. In a civil case seeking compensation, you and your attorney have to prove:

  • That the other party was driving negligently or recklessly.
  • That you suffered injuries because of the driver’s negligence or recklessness.
  • That you suffered financial damages as a result of the injuries you sustained. 
  • That the reckless driver owed a duty of care.

Proving your claim requires evidence that comes in many forms. Some common forms of evidence include photographs, witness statements, medical records, police reports, and a record of a reckless driving charge for the negligent party. Your attorney will collect that documentation through the investigation process. 

Potential Damages in Your Case

In all personal injury cases, you have the potential to collect compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are more easily calculated and include:

  • Medical bills, including any ongoing costs for future treatments 
  • Loss of income, including future loss of income
  • Cost of repairs for any property damage

Non-economic damages are harder to calculate. They include pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Your attorney has experience valuing non-economic damages based on precedence. More often than not, non-economic damages account for the largest portion of the settlement. Without the help of legal representation, you risk undervaluing those damages and decreasing your potential compensation.

What Can a Michigan Reckless Driving Car Accident Lawyer Do for You?

A reckless driving car accident lawyer in Michigan is familiar with the legal process and is here to guide you to the compensation you deserve. The more than 40 personal injury lawyers at Mike Morse Law Firm come with research experts and keep their caseload light to ensure that your claim gets all the attention and representation necessary to reach the highest possible financial settlement. Contact us today online or by phone for a free case review.

Sources:

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/2020_Year_End_Traffic_Crash_Statistics_727043_7.pdf

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(l3dmcn4obwouzsddx23g2m1p))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-257-626

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