Gallatin, TN has much to be proud of, especially when it comes to its drivers.
According to a study by QuoteWizard, an insurance quote comparison site, Gallatin has the second-best driving of any city in Tennessee based on 2018 accidents and traffic ticket statistics. Sumner County also has a particularly low traffic fatality rate.
Accidents still happen, though. Drivers can become careless, or worse, reckless while behind the wheel.
The aftermath of any car accident is challenging. Reckless driving accidents tend to cause serious property damage and injuries, making your situation all the more painful and stressful.
Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers will make every effort to establish recklessness during an insurance claim and collect a fair settlement without litigation. But we are ready and willing to go to court if it’s necessary. We have helped thousands of clients win settlements and court awards for their injuries.
Our law firm is located across from the Gallatin Public Library at 126 East Main. We are a local law firm ready to help.
What Is Reckless Driving in Tennessee?
Under Tennessee’s motor vehicle law Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-205, reckless driving means operating any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Another type of reckless driving is ignoring a flood warning sign or barricade and driving through a flooded area.
For a motorcyclist, reckless driving is driving with the front wheel raised off the ground (except for those driving under 30 mph in a parade).
Reckless driving is a crime, and the motorist can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, they’ll receive six driver license points, and they could be fined up to $500 and sentenced to up to six months in jail.
If a reckless driver injures you in a crash, then you may have a separate civil claim. You can pursue compensation whether or not they’re charged or convicted of reckless driving.
Examples of Reckless Driving
Reckless driving includes but is not limited to:
- Excessive speeding;
- Speeding during poor weather and road conditions;
- Passing on a two-lane highway during poor visibility or heavy traffic;
- Trying to elude the police;
- Drag racing;
- Texting and driving;
- Driving through red lights, stop signs, and yield signs;
- Weaving in and out of traffic;
- Failing to use headlights at night; and
- Driving when intoxicated due to drugs or alcohol.
A driver’s actions might be considered reckless by one police officer and not another. One officer might give a motorist a speeding ticket for driving 55 mph on a 35-mph road, while another would give the motorist a reckless driving charge. Whether a driver is reckless may also depend on weather conditions, traffic conditions, and whether there was a school zone or children nearby.
Reckless Driving in Gallatin
Despite being a modest-sized town, Gallatin has a number of major roadways running around or through it, including State Route 386 (the “Vietnam Veterans Boulevard”), State Route 109, State Route 25, and U.S. Highway 31E (the “Nashville Pike”). But reckless driving can happen anywhere, on any type of road. We can help whether you were injured on Main Street or a quiet, neighborhood drive.
Why Is Reckless Driving So Serious?
Reckless driving is a crime instead of a simple traffic ticket because of the harm it can cause.
Reckless driving accidents can be devastating, and victims often sustain serious injuries, leading to significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences.
What to Do After a Reckless Driving Accident
When you are hurt in a car crash, there are several important steps to take.
Organize Medical Records and Bills
A significant part of any car accident claim is compensation for physical injuries and medical care. If you were hurt in Gallatin, you may have been treated at Sumner Regional Medical Center or Moore Life Urgent Care or had to seek out specialists in nearby Nashville. Wherever you were treated, ask for copies of all your medical records and keep track of all the bills and other documentation you receive from medical providers. Keep it organized and safe.
Write What You Remember
It’s hard to keep facts and memories straight when you’re in pain and stressed. It can help to write down a full summary of the accident, including the crash location, date and time, weather and road conditions, and what you saw and did.
Get the Police Report
Sometimes, the police report provides evidence of reckless driving. It can be a crucial piece of evidence. Contact the Gallatin Police Department, the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office, or whichever law enforcement agency responded to your crash for a copy of its report. You can usually obtain a report in person, by mail, by fax, or online for a small fee.
Consult a Gallatin, TN Car Accident Lawyer
Our law firm can look for evidence of reckless driving, send a demand for compensation to the liable party, and in many cases, increase the final settlement amount or court award. But we do more than that.
At Flora Templeton Stuart, we care about getting you and your family back on track. We work closely with you to get your vehicle repaired or replaced as soon as possible and to make sure you receive excellent medical care. We can recommend doctors and specialists in or near Gallatin, TN. You can rest assured you will receive our full attention because we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive, client-focused representation.
Winning Compensation After a Reckless Driving Accident
To win a settlement or court award, you have to prove another party is liable for your injuries. That means establishing negligence.
Every driver has a duty of care toward others on the road. It’s their responsibility to behave as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. That includes following all traffic laws and being careful to reduce the chances of an accident.
To establish negligence, you have to show that the driver breached their duty. You might present evidence that the other driver failed to behave reasonably and carefully or that they broke a traffic law. For example, maybe a motorist drove down S. Water Avenue at 55 mph, speeding past Guild Elementary School while children were leaving for the day and rear-ending you as you stopped to let students cross the road. If the driver received a reckless driving citation, this could be crucial evidence to establish negligence.
Next, you have to show that the driver’s careless actions directly caused your accident. You also have to show you suffered damages in the collision, which is why it is important to thoroughly document your physical and psychological injuries.
An attorney can help you gather evidence to prove each of these elements and establish the other driver’s liability.
Proving Recklessness Over Ordinary Negligence
There’s an important distinction between recklessness and ordinary negligence in Tennessee. Negligence amounts to being careless and making what is probably a common mistake. Recklessness is when a driver blatantly ignores creating a serious risk of a crash.
Under Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-39-104, a court may award punitive damages if you have clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted maliciously, intentionally, fraudulently, or recklessly. Punitive damages are rare, but you can ask your lawyer about them.
Punitive damages are meant to punish a wrongdoer and dissuade them from behaving that way again. By proving recklessness in Tennessee, you might recover punitive damages up to two times the amount of your compensatory damages or up to $500,000, whichever is greater.
The Reckless Driver May Not Be the Only Liable Party
There are many benefits to working with a Gallatin car accident lawyer after being injured by a reckless driver. One is receiving a thorough evaluation of your claim. We can gather a great deal of evidence about what happened, including footage from nearby cameras, witness statements, and expert witness opinions.
Gallatin, TN has several red light cameras that might have captured the crash or relevant conduct. Another option is to look for weather or private surveillance cameras in the vicinity. Even cameras that captured the other driver’s behavior in the minutes leading up to the crash can be helpful.
Learning the truth allows us to identify who was directly at fault for the crash. In some circumstances, that at-fault driver isn’t the only person legally responsible for compensating you.
If the reckless driver was in a borrowed vehicle, the car owner’s insurance might cover your injuries. Or if the reckless driver was working at the time, their employer might be responsible under the law.
Other issues might have contributed to the crash, such as a third vehicle, poorly maintained roads, or a vehicle defect. We consider all possibilities when analyzing your case to ensure we pursue compensation from all available avenues.
Call for a Free Case Review
If you believe the person who caused your accident was driving recklessly, talk with an experienced personal injury attorney in Gallatin right away.
Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers has over four decades of experience proving reckless driving accidents and winning maximum compensation for our clients. We recover compensation in over 90% of the cases we take, amounting to tens of millions of dollars for our clients.
You do not need to worry about a retainer or hourly rates. We do not require any upfront payment to get started. Instead, you only pay us a fee after we win you an insurance settlement or court award.