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Taking legal action against a reckless driver

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Personal Injury

Most car accidents in Maryland are caused by human errors. If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision, a reckless or negligent driver will likely be the at-fault party. Reckless motorists who cause accidents pay steep fines and often lose their driving privileges, and they can be sent to jail for years if the accidents they cause result in serious injury or death. They can also be held accountable in civil court.

Suing a reckless driver

Car accident lawsuits are usually based on the tort of negligence. To establish liability in a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered harm as a direct result of the defendant’s negligent actions. They must also prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care, but this is rarely a problem in car accident lawsuits because all road users are expected to do everything that they reasonably can to prevent accidents.

Evidence of recklessness

Civil litigants prevail when their arguments are supported by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that a plaintiff must convince the jury that their account of the events in question are more likely true than false. In a case against a reckless driver, the plaintiff could meet their burden by introducing:

  • The police report if the responding officers assigned blame.
  • Toxicology test results if the defendant was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Data was obtained from an automobile black box if the defendant was speeding.
  • Health care records if the defendant was impaired by prescription medications.
  • Wireless service records if the defendant was distracted.

Negotiated settlements

Most personal injury cases are settled at the negotiating table before they go to court. When the injured party can provide evidence that shows negligence played a role, the at-fault party or their insurance company will usually choose to avoid the costs and risks of a civil trial.