Georgia is a fault state, meaning that the driver who causes a car accident is liable for all the costs related to that accident. Being at fault doesn’t always mean breaking the law—the driver may have simply made a momentary bad decision. But if they did break traffic laws or drive in a dangerous manner, they may owe far more money. And just about no traffic violation is more dangerous than reckless driving.
In Georgia, reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime. State law defines it as driving with a “reckless disregard of persons or property.” Although it is a traffic violation, it carries up to a year in jail time and hefty fines—in fact, it’s often seen as similar to DUI or hit and run.
Reckless driving can be a factor in:
What counts as reckless driving?
The “reckless disregard” rule is very vague. In many ways, reckless driving is meant as a blanket law to cover any type of highly dangerous behavior on the road. It can be applied to anything from drag racing to aggressive lane changing.
Examples of some behavior that can count as reckless driving include:
- Excessive speeding
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Passing illegally on the shoulder
- Blowing through stop signs, yield signs or traffic lights
- Aggressive tailgating
A driver can also be charged with reckless driving when they have alcohol in their system—even if it’s not enough to count as DUI. In fact, reckless driving is a common “plea bargain” charge for someone originally charged with drunk driving.
If the person who hit me was driving recklessly, how does it affect my accident claim?
Your claim gets substantially stronger. This is true if either:
- The driver is convicted of reckless driving as a criminal charge, or
- The driver is not charged or convicted of reckless driving, but was clearly driving in a reckless manner
This helps your case because it helps make clear that they are the ones at fault and you are the victim—which means their insurance has to cover all of your costs and damages.
If the driver is actually convicted of reckless driving, you could also be awarded punitive damages, which is extra money they have to pay you to make up for what they did.
Can I still win an accident claim if the other driver wasn’t driving recklessly?
Yes. In reality, only a small percentage of car accident claims involve reckless driving. If the other driver is the one who caused the accident, you can potentially win your claim and make a financial recovery even if they broke no laws.
Have you been injured? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.