Florida highways can be very dangerous in congested driving situations on the open road, but they get much worse when a reckless driver is in the mix. Reckless driving puts all other motorists at risk in a variety of ways, but many accidents stem from a willful disregard for the traffic laws and other motorists on the road. Road rage can be an issue as well under certain conditions. What is motivating the driver can matter when personal injury cases are evaluated in court, and the possibility of additional damages may exist in some cases.
Beyond compensatory damages
All valid negligence claims resulting from auto accidents will yield compensatory damages. Elements of a claim typically consist of financial recovery for medical bills, lost wages when they apply, and general damages for pain-and-suffering. Some claims are of nominal value when injuries are less severe, but they are typically adjudicated as standard motor vehicle accidents. Reckless driver cases can go beyond this scope when damages are considered.
Reckless driver cases are easily the most serious when damages are being calculated because they can result in punitive damages if a case goes to trial. Punitive damages stemming from an auto accident can only be awarded by a sympathetic jury and are not submitted as a standard injury claim with an insurance company even for a reckless driver case. The driver’s insurance company will still be liable to pay all damages up to policy limits if they are awarded.
Any settlement prior to a trial may include some maximized benefit in avoiding the opportunity for an assignment of punitive damages, but there is also a good chance the case will actually go to trial. Complications can also arise when the driver is facing criminal charges, which is very common, and also if the driver does not have insurance protection.