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Car Accident Attorneys North Miami Beach January 16, 2019 What You Should Know About Reckless Driving in North Miami Beach

If you live, work, or spend your leisure time in North Miami Beach, you are probably already aware of the area’s everyday traffic concerns. It’s an ongoing problem and reckless drivers only increase the hazards. The Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts cites reckless driving as one of the most common criminal traffic citations issued in the county. With so many reckless drivers on the road, you’re never entirely safe while on a Florida roadway.

Miami-Dade County’s uniform traffic safety statistics for 2017 show that 810 drivers received reckless operation citations. While that’s not a huge figure compared to the 673,247 other moving and non-moving violations issued in the area, it should remind you that, while driving, it’s important to remember that you’re sharing the road with a few dangerous drivers. For your own safety, you should understand the risks and drive cautiously at all times.

What is Reckless Operation?

Even if you can’t explain reckless driving, you probably know it when you see it. You can’t always evaluate other drivers’ intent or state of mind, but when they drive erratically, you generally perceive their actions as thoughtless, dangerous, and reckless. Florida’s reckless driving statute provides a legal definition for a reckless driver. According to the law, a reckless driver is a person who:

  • Drives a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, or
  • Flees a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle

A recent study published by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles defines reckless operation based on Florida law enforcement accident reporting categories. The agency lists reckless operation under the umbrella of speeding and aggressive driving, and indicates whether erratic, reckless, or aggressive driving contributed to an accident.  

Criminal Punishment for Reckless Operation

Florida statutes recognize reckless driving as a criminal act because of its inherent potential to cause harm. Miami-Dade County Courts discourage reckless driving by enforcing a system of progressive punishments, discussed below:

  • For a first conviction, a driver is imprisoned for up to 90 days or pays a fine of $25 to $500.
  • For a second conviction, drivers face a $50 to $1,000 fine and imprisonment for up to 6 months.
  • In some cases, the punishments for first and second offenses include both fines and imprisonment.
  • A reckless driver who causes bodily injury or property damage commits a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to one year.
  • When a reckless driver causes serious bodily injury where the victim has a substantial risk of death, the driver can be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by a five-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

Fines include a small fee that the court contributes to a trust designed to provide emergency medical care to victims. If the court believes that chemical substances or alcohol contributed to a driver’s reckless behavior, then the court may refer the driver to a DUI and substance abuse education and evaluation program. If drivers fail to comply with the conditions of their sentence, the court can revoke their driving rights.

What Happens When a Reckless Driver Injures You in an Accident

If a reckless driver strikes your car, you may not feel comfortable discussing insurance and typical post-accident matters at the scene the accident. If the driver was acting aggressively before the accident, you may have no idea why. The reckless behavior could be overblown road rage, uncontrolled anger, or stem from driving under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance. Other than to exchange information, you have no duty to talk to the other parties involved in the accident. To avoid a one-on-one discussion, simply call the local authorities and wait until they arrive.

While you’re waiting and if you’re physically capable of navigating the accident scene, document everything you can. Use your phone camera to snap pictures of the other driver’s license plate and the damage to both cars. Ask witnesses for contact information, and find out what they saw. If the other driver leaves before the police arrive, you’ll hopefully have information for the police to find them.

If you sustain an injury, report the accident to your own insurance carrier immediately. Your insurance company should pay your medical bills, lost wages, and household services using your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Even if the other driver caused the accident, you can only present a liability claim to his or her insurance company once your claims exceed a PIP tort threshold. This may quickly occur if your accident involved:

  • Significant, permanent loss of a bodily function
  • Permanent injury
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death

If your injuries meet a PIP tort threshold and you find out the at-fault driver has no liability insurance, you may file a claim with your own insurance company. You may have coverage under your policy’s uninsured motorist provisions if you purchased such coverage.

Why Should You Care About Reckless Driving?

You should care about reckless driving in North Miami Beach because it affects your safety and peace of mind. Reckless driving, by definition, is an act that puts others at risk. A reckless driver’s actions often cause serious accidents that result in severe injuries. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles lists reckless operation as an initiating factor in accidents which caused 71 fatalities, 182 incapacitating injuries, 349 non-incapacitating injuries, and 418 possible injuries during the most recently reported year.

If you or a loved one sustains an injury in a reckless driving accident, you are likely experiencing physical, emotional, and financial hardship right now. Depending on the severity of your accident, you may be focused on repairing your car, dealing with a lifetime of medical bills, and/or managing a long-term disability. Fortunately, you may be eligible to seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries.

Contact Our North Miami Beach Attorneys

If a reckless driver injured you or your loved one, our North Miami Beach attorneys will give you the personal attention that you deserve. Call Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP today at (305) 676-8154, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation and to discuss the details of your accident with one of our experienced car accident lawyers.

Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP
1820 NE 163rd St 306
North Miami, FL, 33162
(305) 676-8154

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