Reckless or aggressive driving is one of the main reasons why car accidents happen. If you have been injured in an accident due to someone’s purposeful disregard for your safety, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the suffering you have experienced.
On the other hand, if you have been falsely accused of reckless driving, you may need legal assistance to defend yourself from this serious charge. Contact Judd Shaw Injury Law for more information.
Dangerous New Jersey Roads
New Jersey roads are dangerous now more than ever before. In fact, the New Jersey state police fatal accident investigation unit reported a 19.1 percent increase in fatal accidents from 2020 to 2021. Victims of these accidents were not only drivers but also passengers, pedal cyclists, and pedestrians.
What is Reckless Driving?
According to the New Jersey Statutes Title 39 Section 39:4-96, someone guilty of reckless driving is defined as 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.”
This broad definition can make it hard to specify what exactly reckless driving is and how it differs from careless driving, but the key term is “willful or wanton,” which means mental thought and intentions were involved. It can be hard at times to determine what the driver was thinking before or when the accident happened. A careful investigation must be conducted in order to label that person a reckless driver.
Here are some common behaviors associated with reckless driving:
- Road rage
- Texting while driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failure to obey traffic lights
- Driving under the influence
A reckless driving charge can often be combined with excessive speeding or DUI. This can bring the total traffic tickets way up.
Consequences for Driving Recklessly
Reckless driving in New Jersey is punishable by being jailed for up to 60 days, and the perpetrator must pay a fine between $50 and $200. 5 points will also be added to the individual’s driver’s license record.
When points are added to your record, your insurance premium increases and you may also have to pay a motor vehicle surcharge. A surcharge is when you must pay a fine annually for 3 years. Your driver’s license could also be revoked.
If this is not your first reckless driving ticket, then the punishment could be even more severe. You may be charged a fine of up to $500. You could also spend 90 days in jail. Your license will also be suspended.
A record of reckless driving cannot be expunged, or completely removed from your record, in the State of New Jersey – no matter how many years have passed since the incident. This means that if a potential employer looks into your driver records, your employment options could be impacted.
Besides being punished by law, the reckless driver may also be liable, responsible for compensating for damages and harm done to the people involved in the accident and their property.
Contrast With Careless Driving
Reckless driving is not the same as careless driving. Although careless driving can also cause great damage, the driver may not have realized just how dangerous their driving was. Careless driving typically has a reduced penalty in comparison with reckless driving.
If you are being accused of reckless driving, even though you did not have any malicious intent, you may require the defense of a lawyer who can help prove that you were unaware of how dangerous you were driving, which can reduce your penalties.
Defending a Reckless Driving Case
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, there may be multiple options available to defend yourself against the allegation. Due to the broad definition of reckless driving, the police may have incorrectly determined that you were reckless according to their interpretation of the circumstances without sufficient evidence.
Lawyers can examine the situation and see where there may have been an error. They will try to see if the charge could be dismissed. If that is not possible, it is worth considering whether it could be reduced to a lesser offense such as careless driving.
Make sure you know all your legal options – hire a lawyer who knows traffic laws and has experience in reckless driving cases.
New Jersey Car Accident Laws
When you want to be compensated for your losses, it is important to understand the law for each state since the rules vary by location.
For example, New Jersey is a modified comparative fault state. This means that if you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, then you will receive no compensation at all. However, if you are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident, you may still recover damages for a percentage of the total.
New Jersey is also a no-fault insurance state. This means that you must first report your personal injury losses to your own insurance company and be compensated by them, regardless of who is at fault. A claim against the at-fault driver can only be made under certain conditions. In the case of a serious injury, you may be able to receive additional compensation from the at-fault party as well.
These laws, specific to New Jersey, will influence how insurance adjusters view and handle your claim. They can also affect how your case will be settled, perhaps even in court.
Lawyers Who Can Help Your New Jersey Reckless Driving Case
If you are involved in a reckless driving accident, retaining a lawyer can absolutely be beneficial to you. Instead of stressing over each step, collect the necessary documents and fight for your rights.
Lawyers familiar with the legal system in New Jersey will be especially helpful if your accident happened in the state. Take Judd Shaw Injury Law, for instance. We can help you receive the legal assistance you need.
Our ethical law firm has strong core values which, as you will see, center around you and your needs. Our passion and motivation come from making our clients happy and giving you the legal support you need. Whether you are a victim of reckless driving or have been unjustly accused, let us see how we can help you get a fair settlement and trial.
We abide by the Judd Shaw Way, promising you the highest level of service. Contact us at 1-866-909-6894 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Our representatives are available to receive your call 24/7.