Website Image Skip to Content

Staten Island Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer


Were You Injured by a Careless or Reckless Driver? Call Our Staten Island Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer at the O’Connor Law Firm for Immediate Help

One of the most common cases of a motor vehicle accident is reckless driving. This aligns with public sentiment, where 60% of surveyed motorists believed that unsafe and reckless driving by others was a major personal threat to them and their families. Other statistics reveal that operating a vehicle in a reckless or careless manner accounts for almost 10% of all fatal traffic accidents. However, what constitutes reckless driving is more than just driving carelessly, but can also include many other common causes of car accidents such as speeding, drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel, and other different types of careless, reckless, or outright negligent conduct. Therefore, whenever you or a loved one were injured by a driver who was acting recklessly, a Staten Island reckless driving accident lawyer can help you recover compensation under New York law.

Here at the O’Connor Law Firm, our compassionate and experienced legal team can help victims and their families recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost earnings, loss of consortium, and conscious pain and suffering after a Staten Island reckless driving accident. Unlike some bodily injury law firms, the O’Connor Law Firm offers free consultations, pays the upfront costs of litigation, and only has its legal fees paid from a percentage of the total recovery made for you. That means there is no obligation, no upfront cost, and no out-of-pocket expense to begin working with our experienced Staten Island car accident lawyer.


What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is a broad topic because jurisdictions define it differently. It is also misunderstood by many people, including insurance adjusters and even some lawyers. Despite generally being considered as operating a vehicle in a careless manner, New York has a specific definition of reckless driving which is important to understand because it can be used to prove a victim’s case.

Specifically, the definition of “reckless driving” is governed by section 1212 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL), which provides that reckless driving is “driving or using any motor vehicle . . . in a manner which [1] unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or [2] unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” A driver who engages in reckless driving is committing a misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense punishable up to one year in jail.

In addition to the traffic and criminal offense portion, reckless driving can also have civil implications in a negligence case. That’s because the definition in tort law (civil law) is broader for injury victims than in criminal law, and it can be applied in different ways. Specifically, the doctrine of negligence per se can be used to automatically establish liability (a duty of care and breach of a duty) against a defendant who violated the traffic law and caused harm to a victim.


Examples of Reckless Driving

Since the definition of reckless driving is purposely broad, it is meant to apply to a wide range of conduct. This also means that what constitutes reckless driving may also depend on the circumstances. Said differently, not all similar conduct is always reckless driving. Rather, it will depend on the facts, which is why a Staten Island reckless driving accident lawyer is important to protect a victim’s rights.

For example, a driver who is going 10 MPH over the speed limit is usually not found to be a reckless driver. However, if there is heavy traffic, a snowstorm, or children present, it is more likely that a driver will also be found to be a reckless driver – in addition to the other VTL violations that may apply.

Moreover, reckless driving may also include circumstances where a driver is violating multiple traffic laws at the same time, such as driving drunk while speeding and unsafely changing lanes. That’s because the likelihood of what constitutes reckless driving increases with how outrageous and more dangerous another driver is in his or her misconduct.

Some common examples of reckless driving that an experienced Staten Island car accident lawyer may be able to recover compensation for you include the following:


Drunk Driving or Drugged Driving

Although New York law as both common-law (judge-made law) and statutory law (legislatively-made law) relating to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the reckless driving law may still apply. That’s because a drunk or drugged driving may be found to have been operating a vehicle in a manner which unreasonably endangers others on the roadway. This is particularly true if a drunk driver is well-above a 0.08 BAC, or has other intoxicants in the driver’s system.

Distracted Driving

Drivers who operate a motor vehicle while distracted, such as texting, eating, using the GPS, playing with a pet, or otherwise doing anything else but focusing on driving, could be a reckless driver. By itself, it is not necessarily reckless within the definition of the law. However, distracted driving while speeding, in a school zone, with children in the vehicle who are then injured, or other circumstances which make distracted driving particularly egregious.

Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

Although aggressive driving is not necessarily illegal, it often comes with certain other toxic driving traits that may be illegal. That includes speeding, driving on shoulders or sidewalks/curbs, running red lights or stop signs, improper U-turns, improper lane changes, and other types of dangerous maneuvers that could result in an accident. Indeed, a driver who is engaging in all of these dangerous behaviors and violating the traffic law may be found to be a reckless driver.

Tailgating or Following too Closely

Drivers who follow too closely and tailgate are some of the most dangerous drivers. This is particularly true when speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, and other types of dangerous behavior are combined with tailgating. Thus, drivers who are tailgating and cause an accident may be found to be a reckless driver and responsible for a Staten Island reckless driving accident.

Mechanical Defects

Even though we may think that reckless driving is all about the driver, it can also be due to mechanical defects as well. Indeed, driving a vehicle that has known defective brakes, bald tires, or other dangerous propensities could constitute reckless driving if that was a cause of an accident. This is particularly true if the accident was caused by a combination, such as bald tires, speeding, mishandling a curve, and driving drunk.


Common Injuries in Reckless Driving Accidents

Due to the fact that reckless driving can be caused by many different types of wrongful conduct, there are many different types of injuries that may be caused in a Staten Island reckless driving accident. These include accidents caused by speeding and high-force collisions, as well as accidents caused by side-swipe, rollover, or rear-end collisions.

Some of the most common types of personal injuries that may be caused in a reckless driving accident include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations
  • Broken bones
  • Organ injuries
  • Loss of vision, either partial or total
  • Nerve injuries
  • Significant disfigurement and scarring
  • Shoulder injuries, including torn rotator cuffs, SLAP tears, and related damage
  • Knee injuries, including a torn meniscus or torn ligament such as the LCL, MCL, ACL, or PCL
  • Neck injuries and back injuries, including herniated discs, slipped discs, annular tears, and other damage
  • Facial injuries
  • Wrongful death, and
  • Other types of personal injuries or damages that are caused by the negligence of a Staten Island reckless driving defendant.


Do I Need a Lawyer for a Reckless Driving Accident in New York?

Although there is no legal requirement that victims must have a lawyer for a reckless driving accident, victims who do not get a lawyer often miss out on compensation. That’s because insurance adjusters and defense lawyers will try to take advantage of a victim and his or her family, offering what appears to be a fair amount of compensation upfront with no hassle. It may be tempting to accept that compensation when a victim has high emergency medical bills and lost wages.

However, once you accept that compensation and settle, your case is closed. It may be impossible to undo that too, especially if your injuries get worse. Thus, trying to handle a reckless driving accident case without a lawyer will almost guarantee that you do not get the full compensation that you may be entitled to. That’s because insurance adjusters and defense lawyers will try to undermine and even underpay claims, even where the injuries and liability are obviously caused by the crash.

But with a Staten Island reckless driving accident lawyer, you can fight back to protect your rights to compensation. With a lawyer, you can ensure that you obtain the “going rate” for your injuries in your locality. You can also rest assured knowing that your lawyer will not allow a defense lawyer or insurance adjuster to try to take advantage of what rights you may have to compensation under the law, including medical bills, lost wages, lost future earnings, and of course pain and suffering. Without a lawyer, you may be leaving these options on the table, and not being properly compensated.


Injured in a Staten Island Reckless Driving Accident? Call the O’Connor Law Firm 

If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a Staten Island reckless driving accident, call the O’Connor Law Firm for help. Our experienced car accident lawyer offers free consultations and case evaluations, where you and your family can ask tough questions and get back thorough answers as it relates to your accident, your damages, and what rights you may have under New York law. Unlike some other bodily injury law firms, there is no obligation to sign up on the day of your consultation. Nor is there any upfront cost, then or after you agree to hire us and we accept your case. Indeed, we pay the litigation costs and only get those expenses and our lawyer fees paid after we recover compensation for you.

If you were injured by a reckless driver, call our personal injury law firm in Staten Island for help today by dialing (718) 948-3500 or by sending us an email through our “Contact Us” box available here. We look forward to speaking with you and your family.