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How Ohio Law Defines Reckless Driving in Car Accident Claims

October 13, 2023

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that over half of deadly car crashes involve reckless or aggressive driving. If you're hurt in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, it's essential to seek a car accident lawyer. An experienced lawyer will help you understand your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

Read further to learn how Ohio defines reckless driving and how Cleveland lawyers from Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy are here to help get victims of reckless drivers the justice and compensation they deserve.

Ohio Reckless Driving Defined

According to R.C. Section 4511.20, reckless driving in Ohio is defined as "operating a vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property." This law also covers reckless operation off-road or on watercraft. The offense is somewhat unclear, as it gives law enforcement or prosecutors the authority to decide if the conduct constitutes "willful and wanton disregard."

Examples of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving can come in many forms. Some examples include:

  • Speeding: The most common form of reckless driving, speeding raises the risk and seriousness of accidents. It means driving too fast for the road conditions.
  • Tailgating: Following too closely behind another vehicle is both impolite and hazardous. It can lead to rear-end collisions if the front car stops suddenly.
  • Erratic Lane Changes: Quickly weaving in and out of traffic, cutting off other drivers, and changing lanes without signaling are unpredictable and risky behaviors.
  • Ignoring Traffic Signals: Running red lights or stop signs shows blatant disregard for road rules and can easily cause a crash.
  • Engaging in Distracting Behavior: Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Some common examples of distracted driving include texting, checking email, or talking on a cell phone while driving.
  • Driving on the Shoulder: Unless done for a specific reason such as pulling over, using the shoulder for driving is unsafe and can endanger other drivers.
  • Lane Splitting: For motorcyclists, riding between lanes is dangerous and illegal in many states, increasing the chance of collisions.
  • Impaired Driving: Driving while experiencing the effects of psychoactive substances is not just against the law; it also significantly raises the risk of accidents.

Reckless driving often leads to severe injuries, including:

  • Head Injuries
  • Neck and Back Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Internal Bleeding

Grasping the extent of your injuries is vital for maximizing compensation. Contact the car accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy for guidance. We are well-versed in car accident cases and have a track record of attaining just compensation for our clients.

Compensation for Car Accident Injury Claim

Ohio law allows victims to seek compensation for damages incurred in a car accident. These damages can include:

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover your financial losses, including vehicle repairs or replacement. Typical monetary damages awarded in car accidents include:

Medical Costs

Expenses for treatments, medications, and medical devices linked to the accident, present and future, could be compensated. Keep records of your medical expenses for a fair settlement.

Lost Income

You can seek compensation if your injury prevents you from working and you experience wage loss. Obtain a letter from your employer detailing your wage rate, hours missed, and total income loss due to the injury.

Non-Economic Damages

These damages lack a fixed value and must be quantified by your attorney for appropriate compensation. Non-economic damages in Ohio car accident cases include:

Pain and Suffering

You can get compensation for physical discomfort and pain based on injury severity and recovery duration.

Emotional Distress

You can also receive compensation for psychological distress with proper documentation from medical professionals.

Loss of Consortium

If your accident leads to losing emotional or sexual companionship with a partner, you may be eligible for this compensation. This type of compensation generally requires that you have proof of sexual disability.

Punitive Car Accident Damages

In some situations, the court may award punitive damages if the defendant's actions are deemed intentional, grossly negligent, or reprehensible. While uncommon, punitive damages are a reminder of Ohio's strict stance against such conduct.

What to Do if You Are Injured by a Reckless Driver

You must take specific steps to safeguard your rights and increase your chances of getting fair compensation. Here are some of the steps you should remember:

Inform the police

Reporting the accident to the police establishes an official record that can serve as crucial evidence for your case.

Seek medical help

Even if you feel fine, seeing a doctor is essential. Some injuries, like concussions or whiplash, might have delayed symptoms.

Collect evidence

Take pictures of the accident site and gather contact details from witnesses.

Consult a car accident attorney

Seeking guidance from a skilled car accident lawyer specializing in motor vehicle accidents can help you understand your rights, explore options, and secure the compensation you’ll need to move forward with your life.

How Our Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You

Irresponsible driving poses a significant threat on our roads. We must hold drivers responsible for any resulting injuries they are liable for. If you've been injured in a car accident due to reckless driving, let the Cleveland car accident lawyers here at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy give you the legal guidance and support you deserve.

Contact us for a free consultation.

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