Speeding is a common cause of serious and deadly accidents in New Jersey. When a driver speeds, or drives too fast for conditions, he or she compromises the ability to drive safely. Speeding can make it impossible to stop on time to avoid a collision with another car, pedestrian, bicyclist or object. It can also increase the velocity of a car accident, causing more catastrophic personal injuries and worse property damages. In New Jersey, excessive speeding could lead to a serious reckless driving charge for the perpetrator, as well as potential liability for a crash.
Reckless driving is a step above careless driving, according to the New Jersey Revised Statutes. Reckless driving is a more serious charge with harsher consequences. Under section 39:4-96 of the law, reckless driving is the heedless operation of a motor vehicle with a wanton or willful disregard for the rights or safety of others, in a way as to endanger or likely endanger people or property. This includes driving at dangerous speeds.
Going a few miles over the speed limit in New Jersey will not constitute reckless driving. Traveling significantly above the posted limit or excessively fast for conditions, however, could lead to a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving goes beyond a simple traffic infraction. It is a crime punishable with up to 60 days behind bars and/or a fine of up to $200 for a first offense. If a driver gets two reckless driving charges, he or she could face increased penalties of 90 days’ imprisonment and/or up to $500 in fines. Reckless driving also results in five points added to the driver’s license in New Jersey.
A driver could face a reckless driving charge in New Jersey for more than just speeding. Reckless driving can encompass any wanton or willful behavior that endangers the lives of others, including racing, tailgating, weaving through traffic, running red lights, rolling through stop signs and ignoring rights-of-way. It is largely up to the police officer conducting the traffic stop to gauge whether the driver’s actions constitute reckless driving, including speeding. The law does not list a specific speed that qualifies as reckless.
New Jersey is a no-fault car accident state, meaning even if another driver caused your crash through reckless driving or speeding, your own insurance provider will most likely cover your damages. In no-fault states, accident survivors file first-party insurance claims regardless of fault. If, however, your injuries are serious enough, you may be eligible to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver instead. In this scenario, an attorney can be integral to gathering evidence and bringing your claim.
If you suspect another person of traveling at a reckless driving speed in New Jersey before striking your car, contact a crash attorney for counsel. You may have the chance to file a claim against the driver. A Monmouth County car accident lawyer will have the resources to investigate your accident for signs of reckless driving or excessive speeding, such as significant property damage or more catastrophic injuries. A lawyer could also gather evidence such as eyewitness accounts and surveillance video footage to help prove the other driver was speeding.
A criminal conviction or ticket for reckless driving against the other driver could help your personal injury claim. This could serve as proof the driver was traveling at an excessive speed at the time of your collision. While this alone will not guarantee compensation for your damages, combined with other forms of evidence, it could be enough to convince a judge or jury the other driver caused your car accident. If so, the at-fault driver could owe you compensation for losses such as vehicle damage, physical injuries, hospital expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact a Monmouth County personal injury lawyer after any speed-related collision for more information about reckless driving charges and accidents in New Jersey.