“Reckless” driving doesn’t get as much attention, it seems, as drunk driving or distracted driving does, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. In fact, reckless driving may be more dangerous, because under Oklahoma’s definition, a reckless driver is one who exhibits a “willful disregard” for the safety of others. This is why reckless driving tickets are sometimes issued along with other citations.
The reckless driver can be speeding, swerving, texting, driving along the shoulder, or exhibiting signs of road rage. No matter what type of reckless behavior the driver engaged in, if you are in a collision with him/her, there are a few things you should do right way.
Seek medical attention, if needed
Typically, reckless drivers move pretty fast, and a high-speed collision can be deadly. However, even if the impact occurred at low speeds, you should still seek medical attention. Sometimes, swelling can hide a more serious injury, and adrenaline can mask the pain you’re in from the crash.
If you need an ambulance, call for one. If you do not, then make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible – not only to ensure that you are healthy, but also to create a record of any injuries you sustained.
Call the police, your insurance company, and roadside assistance
It’s important to get a police record of the car crash, especially if the other driver receives a ticket or traffic violation. The record should be ready in a few days, and it is also important to review what it says. You want to make sure there is time to correct any errors in the report, if necessary.
When that’s done, call for a tow truck and inform your insurance company that you were hit by another vehicle.
Take pictures of everything
Snap photos of the car, the road, the other car, yourself, and your passengers. If you have sustained an injury, take a picture. If a telephone pole is gouged, take a picture. If there are witnesses willing to speak on video about what they saw, ask them for permission to record them, and get their contact information.
Should I call a lawyer after a reckless driving crash?
Almost certainly yes. The truth is that if you suffer no injuries, have minimal damage to your car, and the other driver admits fault, the insurance company may offer you a settlement that you think is fair.
But it usually doesn’t work out like that, especially if you get hurt. Some injuries grow worse over time, and accepting a settlement right away can leave you holding the ball when it comes to getting your medical bills paid.
What if the police don’t ticket the other driver? Do I still have a case?
This happens more often than you think: a driver is given multiple citations for a crash, but then law enforcement drops some of those charges later. Sometimes, a driver is not given a citation at all, even though he or she caused the wreck.
This does not mean you cannot build a case. Remember, the police report will outline what happened, regardless of what tickets the other driver gets. You will also have photos of the damage your vehicle sustained, and a medical record of your injuries.
If you were injured by a reckless driver, Cunningham & Mears may be able to help. Our Oklahoma City car crash lawyers have protected the rights of injury victims for decades. To schedule a free consultation with a member from our team, please call 405.232.1212 or fill out our contact form.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More