Many people use the term reckless driving to mean many different forms of negligent and/or criminal driving behavior. According to New Jersey law, reckless driving is typically defined differently from careless driving and even worse, aggressive driving. If another driver engages in reckless driving and causes an accident, the injured victim may be able to file a claim to recover lost wages, medical expenses and other losses.
Reckless Driving vs Careless Driving
New Jersey has a fairly loose careless driving law, which allows a police officer significant discretion to issue a ticket for careless driving when the behavior doesn’t fit any other category. Typically, careless driving implies the driver was unintentional in their unsafe behavior. Even if a driver’s behavior was unintentional, it does not mean that they were not negligent in their actions (or lack thereof).
In New Jersey, reckless driving defined by the New Jersey Revised Statutes § 39:4-96 (2013), reckless driving is as follows:
“A person who drives a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving…”
The key difference between careless driving and reckless driving in New Jersey is the intent behind the action of the driver. In the case of reckless driving, a driver is charged with ‘willful or wanton disregard in the safety of others.' If a New Jersey driver is charged with reckless driving and causes an injury accident, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim against the driver to recover compensation for losses related to the injury and accident.
Reckless Driving Examples in New Jersey
Common types of reckless driving in New Jersey include:
- Excessive speeding
- Disregarding police traffic barriers
- Driving in between lanes
- Weaving through traffic erratically or against traffic signals
- Drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs
The definition of reckless driving in New Jersey can be vague and is subjective. What’s clear is that reckless driving can cause serious accidents and injuries for other drivers and passengers. Injured victims may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim.
Can You Sue for a Reckless Driving Accident?
Many times, yes you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against another driver, if that driver’s reckless driving caused an injury accident. Under New Jersey law, drivers owe a ‘duty of care’ to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. When a negligent driver fails in this duty of care and causes an accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for your losses due to the accident.
Compensation for a Reckless Driving Accident in New Jersey
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, which means that your own personal injury protection insurance (PIP) is the first or primary source for insurance claims after an accident. That doesn’t mean that getting fair compensation for your injuries and medical treatment is easy. And, in the case of serious injury, you may also be able to file a claim against the negligent drivers policy. Compensation should include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Medical devices
- Lost income
- Future earning capacity
- Intangible losses, like pain and suffering
Pre-existing conditions and other factors can sometimes make it difficult to get the compensation you deserve from the insurance company. Consult with a New Jersey car accident lawyer to understand your options.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, don’t go it alone. An experienced car accident lawyer can advocate for your best interest and pursue fair compensation for your damages. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, you can count on us to work tirelessly for your quality of life. We’ve helped people just like you move forward after sustaining an injury that was caused by another’s negligence. Contact us now.