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Reckless Driving in Residential Areas
Whenever a motorist is driving in a residential area, that motorist has a duty to exercise care toward other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Residential areas often are places where young children ride bicycles, and families take walks for recreation and exercise. Accordingly, speed limits are significantly lower in residential areas than on major freeways, or even on streets that run through commercial areas.
If a motorist drives at excessive speeds in a residential area and causes a devastating collision, it is critical to seek advice from a reckless driving accident lawyer.What is Reckless Driving in a Residential Area?
Reckless driving in a residential area often involves traveling at extremely unsafe speeds in a place where pedestrians and bicyclists, or people walking their dogs, may be at risk of injury in a collision. Most states have their own laws when it comes to reckless driving in a residential area. In California, Section 23103 of the California Vehicle Code defines reckless driving as any situation in which a person drives “in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”Damages in a Reckless Driving Accident That Occurred in a Residential Area
In most car accident cases, an injury victim can be eligible to receive compensatory damages, which are designed to provide that injury victim with compensation for her losses. Compensatory damages help to compensate a person for economic and non-economic losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
When car accident cases involve reckless driving in a residential area, it may be possible to seek punitive damages, as well. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for harmful conduct. Punitive damages are not awarded often in personal injury cases. In order to obtain punitive damages in California, for example, the plaintiff must be able to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant “engaged in . . . conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud.”
While that language does not necessarily seem to refer to reckless driving in a residential area, it is important to note that California law defines “malice” as a situation in which “a defendant acted with intent to cause injury or that a defendant’s conduct was despicable and was done with a willful and knowing disregard of the rights or safety of another.” In particularly egregious reckless driving accident cases in residential areas, the at-fault driver’s disregard for the safety of others could result in punitive damages.Statute of Limitations in Rear End Collision Cases
Every state has its own time limit in which an injured person must file a lawsuit to seek compensation if they plan to do so. In California, the statute of limitations in most personal injury cases arising out of reckless driving accidents is two years. What does this mean? Under California law, a person who is injured in a residential reckless driving crash must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the injury. If more than two years pass from the date of the collision in which the plaintiff got hurt, the claim will be time-barred.Contact a Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer
Were you injured by a reckless driver in a residential area? A car accident attorney can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information about filing a claim.