The Difference Between Negligent and Reckless Driving

Thursday, July 29, 2021

A driver has a responsibility to operate a motor vehicle safely and prudently. This means in accordance with traffic laws and local roadway rules. Unfortunately, many drivers endanger the lives of others by behaving negligently or recklessly behind the wheel. Negligence and recklessness are two different things that can result in different outcomes for your car accident lawsuit. Knowing the difference can help you understand your legal rights.

What Is Negligent Driving?

Negligence is the failure to use an acceptable or appropriate amount of care, resulting in harm or injury to others. If a driver is negligent, it means he or she is operating a vehicle without using reasonable care. Negligence does not necessarily mean an intentional wrongdoing or error; it can be a careless or unintentional mistake, as well. The main elements of negligence are that someone owed another person a duty of care and breached this duty.
Examples of driver negligence include:

  • Failing to yield to another driver or pedestrian
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Turning or changing lanes without a blinker
  • Merging on top of another driver
  • Failing to pay attention to the road

It is possible to hold a driver liable (financially responsible) even if the driver did not intend to make a mistake. Texas is a fault-based insurance state, meaning that the driver or party at fault for causing a car accident will be liable. If driver negligence causes a car accident, therefore, the driver’s auto insurance policy will pay for damages, or a victim’s financial losses.

The Difference Between Negligent and Reckless Driving 1

What Is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving occurs when a driver displays a blatant or wanton disregard for the safety of others. Reckless driving means that a driver knows (or reasonably should know) that his or her actions are dangerous and could put others at risk, but does them anyway. A reckless driver takes unnecessary risks behind the wheel when the chances of a collision or injuries are high. Many different types of reckless driving can lead to serious car accidents, including:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding or racing
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Texting and driving
  • Tailgating
  • Road-rage driving
  • Driving without headlights
  • Running red lights or stop signs

Reckless driving is a crime in Texas. It is a misdemeanor offense that can result in a fine of up to $200 and/or 30 days in jail. It is also a civil tort, or wrongdoing, This can make the reckless driver civilly liable for the wreck. If you believe that the driver that crashed into you was guilty of reckless driving, call the police. The police can investigate the wreck and may issue a citation against the other driver for reckless driving. You can use the ticket as evidence against the driver later.

How Reckless vs. Negligent Driving Can Affect Your Car Accident Case

As the victim of a car accident caused by another driver in Texas, you may be eligible for financial compensation if the driver was negligent or reckless. The amount of compensation available may change depending on the driver’s behaviors. In Texas, if a driver’s actions reach the level of recklessness, a judge may decide to award the plaintiff with punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are an award given to a plaintiff as a way of punishing the defendant for particularly wrongful acts. If a reckless driver caused your car accident in Dallas, therefore, you may be eligible for greater financial compensation than if the driver only reached the level of negligence. In either case, however, you may be able to recover compensation for your property repairs, hospital bills, lost wages and other losses.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, work with an attorney to determine if that driver was negligent or reckless. A Dallas car accident attorney can investigate your crash, help you determine fault and pursue maximum financial compensation on your behalf.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:28 pm

Can a Car Accident Cause a Degenerative Disk?

Monday, July 26, 2021

While you may be aware of the immediate injuries that a car accident can cause, such as broken bones or a concussion, you may not think about the long-term ramifications of being involved in a collision. The trauma inflicted on the body in a motor vehicle collision can lead to chronic pain and many long-lasting conditions. It can also exacerbate existing conditions, including degenerative disk disease. Although a car accident cannot cause degenerative disk disease, it can make this condition worse.

What Is Degenerative Disk Disease?

Despite its name, degenerative disk disease is not actually a disease, but a condition that occurs naturally with age. The spinal cord disks are the round, soft disks that sit between individual vertebrae in the spinal cord. They are soft on the inside and harder on the outside, similar to a jelly donut.
Over the years, wear and tear on a spinal disk can lead to degenerative disk disease – a condition that can cause chronic pain, shooting pains in the arms or legs, numbness, and weakness. Most patients with degenerative disk disease experience moderate chronic pain with episodes of more severe acute pain. Disk degeneration can progress over time, but the symptoms typically do not get worse unless something exacerbates the disease, such as a car accident.

How Can a Car Accident Exacerbate Degenerative Disk Disease?

A car accident exerts significant forces on the occupants of a motor vehicle. These forces can injure any part of the body, causing serious injuries. Injuries to the back and spine are common. The forces of the collision can cause the spinal cord to jerk violently back and forth, potentially injuring the spinal disks. The forces of the crash can herniate the disks, or pull them out of their proper alignment, or cause disks to rupture.
If the victim of a car accident already had degenerative disk disease, the forces of the collision can be especially painful and physically debilitating. The spinal disks may already be weakened, degraded or misaligned due to disk degeneration. The forces of the crash can then cause further damage, making pain, herniation, numbness and other symptoms of a back injury even worse for the victim.

How to Prove Disk Degeneration and Related Pain in a Car Accident Lawsuit

If you believe that your recent car accident exacerbated a degenerative disk or caused other back injuries, you will need to prove your case based on a preponderance of the evidence. This is clear and compelling evidence that convinces an insurance company, judge or jury that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for the injuries you are claiming. It can be difficult to prove injuries and pain related to degenerative disk disease, however, as an insurance company may argue that it was a pre-existing condition.
Although you cannot recover financial compensation from another driver for a pre-existing injury in Texas, you can recover a financial award for the amount by which the car accident exacerbated an injury or condition that you already had. If the collision made your degenerative disk disease worse or more painful, you may be eligible for financial compensation for the difference between how you felt before the crash and how you feel now. It will be up to you or your car accident attorney in Dallas, however, to prove that the collision worsened the symptoms of degenerative disk disease.
Proving your spinal cord injury claim will require evidence such as spinal x-rays, medical records, expert testimony and a letter from your physician. You will need evidence that clearly shows that the car accident had a negative impact on your spinal disks. If you were previously diagnosed with degenerative disk disease, you may need additional medical records proving that the car accident exacerbated the condition. A car accident attorney can help you gather evidence, prove your injury and fight for maximum financial compensation from an insurance company.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:59 pm

How Truck Drivers Cheat On Their Logbooks

Sunday, July 11, 2021
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hundreds of rules in place to improve the safety of the commercial trucking industry. One such rule is that all truck drivers must keep daily logbooks that record duty statuses, operations, and other information. Section 395.8 requires electronic logging devices (ELDs) in most commercial trucks. It is shocking how often truckers and companies disobey this rule and “cheat” on their logbooks to cover up inappropriate or dangerous behaviors. Safety violations and abuses of the federal regulatory process can quickly lead to tragic accidents in Texas.

Why Do Truckers Cheat the Logbook System?

Drowsy truck driving is a major problem on Texas’s roadways. It is impossible for drivers to operate a truck safely when they are tired or even falling asleep. Truckers are especially at risk for drowsy driving because of long hours on the road, pressure from bosses to meet deadlines, and being alone in the cab. The FMCSA strives to reduce this dangerous behavior with the ELD and hours of service rules. Unfortunately, drivers who lie about their daily activities easily circumvent these laws. Here are a few possible ways to cheat the system:
  1. Create fake logbooks. Some truckers and trucking companies still falsify their logs, though this problem is diminishing thanks to the ELD requirement. They create logs with made-up information to present to authorities in the event of inspections, but they do not actually fill them out daily, as they should by law.
  2. Lie about information. Drivers may create duplicate logbooks, so that they may have one “good” one on hand in the event of an unexpected inspection. They may also fill out logs much later than required to cover up hours of service regulation violations or fill out the book with dishonest information.
Truck drivers may lie on their logbooks to drive past their hours of service regulations or break other FMCSA rules. They do this to meet deadlines, receive fast delivery bonuses, and get home to their families faster. Unfortunately, broken rules greatly increase the risk of accidents. There is a reason the FMCSA requires daily activity logging – to prevent truckers from breaking the rules. Entries should be current, accurate, and truthful, not falsified for the trucker’s personal gain.

Logbooks and Personal Injury Claims

Daily logbooks can serve as hard evidence of a truck driver’s negligence in truck-related personal injury claims. Acquiring a driver’s logbook or ELD records is an important step in the investigation phase of any truck accident. This document can show proof of a driver breaking the FMCSA’s rules by disobeying hours of service or other regulations. If a driver falsified the books, a thorough investigative team may be able to catch the driver cheating – also proving negligence. If a truck driver caused a serious accident or wrongful death, a truck accident attorney in San Antonio can most likely discover whether he or she cheated on the logbooks. This may take comparing the book with shipping documents and black-box data from the truck itself. Unexpected inspections and electronic logs can also uncover truckers cheating the system. Seek help from a Texas truck accident lawyer after an accident in which you suspect a trucker broke an FMCSA safety rule. Analyzing the logbooks and checking for cheating may be necessary to prove your case.
Posted by at 10:04 pm