Some car crashes are unavoidable, but most are preventable. That’s certainly the case with reckless driving accidents in Michigan. Reckless drivers choose to drive irresponsibly — and if their actions cause a collision that injures another, they can face criminal and civil penalties.
If you suffered injuries in a reckless driving accident, you could be eligible for compensation from your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s. But interpreting Michigan’s auto laws and figuring out your legal options can be confusing. You don’t want to miss out on money due to a misunderstanding. That’s where Christensen Law can help.
Our attorneys have decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured people. There’s never a good excuse for reckless driving. You can count on us to demand maximum compensation and hold the at-fault driver accountable for their thoughtlessness. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.
What is Considered Reckless Driving in Michigan?
Under Michigan law, reckless driving occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle in a way that shows “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” while on a public roadway, including a highway, parking lot, or even a frozen public lake.
Common examples of reckless driving include:
- Road rage
- Passing illegally
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Racing or performing tricks
- Weaving through traffic without signaling
- Unsafe turns or lane changes
Reckless driving is intentional and purposeful rather than accidental or careless. There is a lesser offense under Michigan law for careless driving, which occurs when a person drives in a “careless or negligent manner likely to endanger any person or property,” but without wanton disregard for the safety of others. Careless driving is a civil infraction, but reckless driving is a crime.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is against the law in Michigan and carries a range of penalties depending on the circumstances:
- Reckless driving – Typically, reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense. Individuals found guilty of reckless driving face up to 93 days in jail, fines of up to $500, or both.
- Reckless driving with injury – If a reckless driver’s actions cause a serious impairment of a body function to another person, they can be charged with a felony. If found guilty, they face up to five years in prison, fines of $1,000 to $5,000, or both. Serious impairment includes the loss of bodily function, loss of a limb, severe disfigurement, traumatic brain injury, or paralysis. A guilty individual may also lose their driver’s license or have their car impounded.
- Reckless driving with death – If a reckless driver’s actions cause death to another person, they can be charged with a felony and be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, fines of $2,500 to $10,000, or both. They can also lose their license and have their car impounded.
In addition to criminal penalties, reckless drivers who inflict serious injuries on accident victims may be held liable for their actions through a personal injury lawsuit. At Christensen Law, we can prepare a strong civil lawsuit to obtain full compensation for your losses.
Common Injuries Caused by Reckless and Aggressive Drivers
According to the Michigan State Police, reckless driving was the most dangerous driving behavior in 2021, contributing to 2,692 traffic crashes. More than 100 of those collisions resulted in death.
Common injuries from accidents caused by reckless and aggressive drivers include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Cuts and lacerations
- Scarring and disfigurement
Understanding the severity of your injuries is essential to maximize your compensation after a reckless driving crash. An auto accident attorney can identify your legal options after reviewing the facts of your case.
Recovering Financial Compensation After a Reckless Driving Accident
The compensation you can pursue after a reckless driving accident will depend on several factors, including Michigan’s no-fault insurance rules.
Under state law, all drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. If you get injured in an accident, regardless of who was at fault, you will file a claim with your own insurance company to recover compensation for many of your accident-related losses, including:
- All reasonable and necessary medical expenses (up to your policy limits)
- Lost wages for up to three years
- Costs of in-home care
- Money for help with household chores
If you file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you could be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, excess lost earnings, and excess medical expenses above your PIP coverage limits.
Can a Criminal Conviction Help my Personal Injury Case?
You can bring a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver even if they are not convicted of a crime related to the accident. A criminal conviction is not necessary to prove guilt in a civil lawsuit. However, if the at-fault driver is found guilty of reckless driving, it could help your case in civil court.
Learn How Our Reckless Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help You
You deserve justice for your injuries after a reckless driving accident. Let a skilled lawyer at Christensen Law stand up for you. Our team of strong advocates will demand fair compensation from the at-fault party and accept nothing less. Contact our office for a free case review now.