We have always been told it is more dangerous to be in an automobile than an airplane, train or even a boat. Because we are on the road more than in the air, on the tracks or in the water, the odds are greater of getting in an automobile accident than other mode of transportation. Throw in texting, driving while intoxicated or on drugs, or just distracted driving and you have a recipe for disaster.
Unfortunately accidents still happen in spite of all the warnings, statistics, information, seminars, and lectures concerning safe driving. If because of that accident, whatever the reason, someone dies, the loved ones of the deceased may go to court to obtain compensation for wrongful death. An experienced wrongful death attorney Bristol TN can rely on can use their immense knowledge of the circumstances and experience in your specific state’s laws to aid you in establishing a strong case.
There are several obvious reasons accidents can happen. These include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while texting
- Automobile manufacturing defects
- Driving while tired
- Inclimate weather conditions
- Elderly or inexperienced drivers
- Reckless Driving
A fatal accident where reckless driving is a factor is a far more serious offense and in addition to compensation to the deceased’s family for wrongful death, a jail sentence can be imposed depending upon the circumstances surrounding the accident.
In certain states, excessive speeding can result in a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving in itself is a serious offence. Reckless driving combined with a fatality has long-term consequences not only for the family of the deceased, but also the offender and usually the offender’s family as well.
To be found guilty of wrongful death in a reckless driving situation, it must be proven that the defendant deliberately operated an automobile in a negligent manner, and guilty of reckless driving for any of the following reasons:
- Excessive speed
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Racing other vehicles
- Passing a school bus that is stopped
- Texting and driving
- Ignoring and evading police officers
- Drunk driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
Along with a reckless driving conviction comes stiff penalties, including:
- Jail time — especially if the reckless driving caused a fatality and now there is also a wrongful death lawsuit
- Fines — can be as low as several hundred dollars but can be in the thousands of dollars as well
- Suspension of driver’s license — the specifics will vary from state to state. If a reckless driving conviction is combined with other offenses it may result in a loss of license permanently
- Points on your driving record
- Insurance premiums will be increased and some companies may cancel your policy
- If you have a job that requires you to drive, you risk losing that position
- Security clearance can be denied or revoked
In addition to the above consequences, if convicted of wrongful death in addition to reckless driving, the penalties will be considerably more severe, along with any damages awarded should you lose the civil suit brought by the deceased’s family.
If you have been charged with reckless driving, first and foremost contact a criminal defense attorney whose expertise is dealing with reckless driving laws. If you are faced with a wrongful death suit because of your reckless driving you will need a defense lawyer to help navigate through the court system to ensure you have the fairest representation.
Thank you to the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for providing insight on the penalties of criminal offenses and driving.