Reckless Driving In Florida
When we get behind the wheel, we assume the responsibility that comes with operating a multi-ton motor vehicle that travels at high speeds. Needless to say, when drivers act recklessly behind the wheel, the risk of crashes and subsequent personal injury increases greatly.
As of July 2021, the state of Florida has already logged 178,179 crashes involving motor vehicles. While it is not possible to discern exactly how many of these crashes were due to reckless driving, Florida has a number of inherent qualities that may lead one to assume a greater likelihood of reckless driving occurs. For example, year-round beautiful weather and large numbers of tourists and travelers may lead to increased traffic in general, and more reckless driving and personal injury in particular.
In the state of Florida, reckless driving is a crime. Many drivers, both tourists and residents alike, may be unaware of the specifics surrounding reckless driving and what to do if personal injury results from a reckless driver. Therefore, this article serves as an overview of reckless driving laws and conceptualizations in Florida.
Defining Reckless Driving in Florida
According to Florida law, two determining factors need to both be present in order to show a defendant was acting reckless in the eyes of the court. First, the defendant must be the person actually behind the wheel, not simply a passenger. Second, the defendant dove in a manner the court can define as “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Negligence vs. Recklessness
In a typical auto accident, courts in Florida use a comparative negligence approach to determining fault, meaning that each party involved is scrutinized to determine the extent to which their actions contributed to the accident. Compensation amounts can vary accordingly.
Reckless driving is different. While negligence can be accidental and not purposeful, Florida courts define reckless driving as a conscious and intentional act, without regard for the consequences and recognizing the threat of personal injury from the driver’s actions.
Consequences of Reckless Driving
The penalties and fees for reckless driving offenders in Florida is tiered based on the frequency and severity of the offense. First offenses without personal injury or property damage will result in a second degree misdemeanor, with a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail or 6 months of probation.
If property damage or personal injury result, the offense is moved to a first degree misdemeanor, with up to one year in jail or probation and a $1,000 fine. If the personal injury is serious, this offense becomes a third degree felony, with up to 5 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
When to Contact an Attorney
When personal injury results from a driver’s reckless actions, victims are going to want to know their options for taking legal action. Contact Payer Law today to understand your options from an Orlando car accident lawyer.