Belleville Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer
Hipskind & McAninch, LLC: Advocates for You
When drivers speed, tailgate, or otherwise drive recklessly, they put everyone on the road in danger. One estimate says that reckless driving causes approximately one-third of American motor vehicle accidents every year.
Reckless drivers may be behaving this way to intimidate others, outperform other traffic, have fun, or express road rage. Some common reckless driving behaviors we’ve seen include:
- Aggressive tailgating
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Not yielding the right-of-way to other drivers or pedestrians
- Cutting other drivers off
- Texting while driving (distracted driving falls under the definition of reckless)
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (also reckless)
- Racing other vehicles
- Evading law enforcement
If you were injured by a driver doing any of these things, you should definitely be able to hold him or her responsible for your expenses in a personal injury claim – in fact, a jury should take reckless behavior into consideration when deciding how much damages you are owed. And you’ll have an even stronger claim if criminal charges were also filed against the reckless driver.
What Is Reckless Driving in Illinois?
Illinois defines reckless driving in Illinois Vehicle Code Section 625 ILCS 5/11-503. The statute says that a person commits “reckless driving” if he or she:
- Drives a vehicle with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of people or property.
- Knowingly drives a vehicle over an incline (railroad crossing, bridge approach, hill) to make the vehicle become airborne.
Willful and wanton conduct is either intentional, or has conscious disregard for the consequences of the conduct. Making a vehicle become deliberately airborne would probably fall under the first definition of “reckless driving,” but Illinois clearly wanted to make sure people knew that it was specifically not allowed.
Reckless Driving: It’s a Crime
In Illinois, reckless driving is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Perpetrators face consequences like fines, drivers’ license points, jail time, and a permanent criminal record.
Reckless drivers often rack up additional charges, like driving under the influence (DUI). For example, a driver who runs a red light late may be initially pulled over for reckless driving. After a failed sobriety test, the police officer may arrest the driver and also charge him with DUI. In this situation, the driver’s intoxication probably contributed to his or her reckless behavior. If the person driving recklessly hits you and then leaves the scene of an accident, he or she could also be charged with hit-and-run.
When a driver racks up multiple charges like this, it shows a greater disregard for human life. If the driver who hit you was charged with other offenses in addition to reckless driving, there’s a good chance your attorney could argue that you deserve punitive damages in addition to other monetary damages. These “punishment” damages aren’t available for every personal injury or wrongful death claim in Illinois, but they are allowed when “…the defendant’s conduct was with evil motive or with a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and with a conscious indifference to the rights and safety of others.”
Contact an Experienced Belleville Reckless Driving Attorney
Reckless drivers demonstrate negligence at the very least, and “reckless and outrageous indifference” at the worst, ignoring the potential consequences of a situation they know is dangerous.
We understand how infuriating it can be when a driver’s recklessness causes a life-changing injury to you or a family member. While nothing can fully right such a wrong, working with our experienced Belleville car accident attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve. When these cases go to a jury, the jury can (and will) certainly consider the reckless driving behavior when it comes to determining how much you should be awarded in damages.
We at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC, have prior experience working for big insurance companies, and we also handled criminal law before devoting our practice solely to representing personal injury victims. When you call us to discuss your case, your consultation is free, and there’s no time limit. If you have questions afterward, we’ll answer them promptly. To speak to Hipskind & McAninch, LLC, please call 618-641-9189, any time. We are available to our clients 24/7. Also, if we take your case, you don’t pay a dime unless we win.