Ohio’s Definition of Reckless Driving
A reckless driver can cause a serious, or even fatal, car accident. Careless, aggressive and/or negligent behavior that results in a car crash may be sufficient cause for a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Such action may mean recovery of medical damages and lost wages for a qualified accident victim.
Ohio traffic laws carry a fairly broad definition of reckless driving. The law states no person shall operate a vehicle in “willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.” Reckless driving, as defined, is a misdemeanor under Ohio criminal laws.
A victim of a reckless driving accident may have grounds to pursue a civil action separate from the state’s punitive actions. That said, conviction of reckless driving may help bolster a personal injury action.
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Was it reckless driving? Six Signs of Reckless Driving Behavior
A personal injury claim filed in connection with a reckless driving accident is based on the driver’s negligent and careless behavior. Below are brief outlines of six of the most common examples of reckless driving behavior:
- Tailgating – An impatient or unobservant driver may follow the vehicle in front too closely, leaving too little room in the event of a sudden stop. This may result in a rear-end collision, which can lead to whiplash and other spinal/neck injuries.
- Speeding – Exceeding the speed limit endangers the lives of the driver and all other motorists and pedestrians in his or her path. A speeding driver may be unable to stop in time to avoid causing a collision or striking a pedestrian or bicyclist. Further, the higher speed generally results in a more serious collision and resultant injuries.
- Disobeying traffic laws – A reckless driver may ignore traffic laws, such as posted speed zones, traffic signals, stop signs or right-of-way. They also may fail to take basic precautionary measures, such as checking blind spots before switching lanes or slowing down for yellow traffic signals.
- Engaging in distracting behavior – Distracted driving is one of the lead causes of car accidents. Some of the most common examples of distracted driving include texting, checking email or talking on a cell phone while driving. Other distracting behavior includes eating, playing with radio controls, grooming, talking to passengers and reading.
- Aggressive behavior – Speeding and tailgating are common examples of aggressive driving; so is swerving between lanes or passing on a double-solid yellow line. An aggressive driver may yell obscenities or use hand signals and may even try to engage another driver in a physical altercation.
- Driving while under the influence – Any driver who operates a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol exhibits a reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Evidence in a Reckless Driving Accident
A personal injury attorney can help collect evidence to support an injury claim after a reckless driving accident. Evidence may include police reports, cell phone records and witness testimony. Injured in a reckless driving accident in Columbus?