Missouri’s Reckless Driving Laws
Posted in Car Accidents on November 16, 2020
Reckless driving occurs when a driver commits negligent actions that put other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk for injury or death. Reckless drivers have little regard for the safety of others, committing acts such as excessive speeding, driving under the influence, making unsafe lane changes, and more. Under Missouri law, reckless driving is a serious offense and may result in additional penalties for the driver.
Missouri’s Careless and Imprudent Driving Laws
Unlike many states, Missouri does not have a law that specifically prohibits reckless driving. However, the state does have a careless and imprudent driving law. This statute requires all drivers to drive in a careful and prudent manner and exercise the highest degree of care while behind the wheel. Drivers must also drive at a rate of speed so not to endanger others on the road.
Unfortunately, many drivers still commit negligent, reckless acts on Missouri roads. In addition to administrative penalties, reckless drivers can face the following legal consequences.
- Careless and imprudent driving is a class B misdemeanor. Drivers can face up to six months in jail and pay up to $1,000 in fines.
- Careless and imprudent driving that results in an accident is a class A misdemeanor. Drivers can face up to one year in jail and pay up to $2,000 in fines.
Legal Options for Reckless Driving Victims
Missouri is a fault insurance state, which means that drivers who cause accidents must pay for the damages of their victims. If you are in an accident with a reckless driver, you can hold him or her liable for your losses through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. These legal pathways allow you to collect compensation for the economic and non-economic impact of the accident, including the following losses.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Chronic pain and disability
- Lost wages and loss of future earnings
- Property damage, including vehicle repairs
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
You may also be eligible for punitive damages, or compensation intended to punish the driver for his or her behavior. To collect these damages, you will need to provide clear and convincing evidence that establishes the driver intentionally harmed you without just cause or acted with a flagrant disregard for your safety.
What to Do If You Are in an Accident with a Reckless Driver
Any accident can be a scary occurrence, but reckless driving adds another level of danger. The driver does not have any regard for the safety of others, and you can experience serious injuries in these collisions.
Immediately after your accident, call 911 and report the crash to law enforcement. This will bring an officer to your location, who will create an accident report you can use in your case. You should also seek medical attention, even if you feel uninjured; you may have underlying injuries you are unaware of.
If you can move around the accident scene safely, you can take the following steps to preserve evidence.
- Ask any witnesses for their contact information so they can testify in your future claim.
- Take photographs of the damage to both vehicles, as well as your injuries and property damage.
- Exchange information with the reckless driver. Ask the driver for his or her contact information, license details, and insurance policy.
After you receive medical attention, contact a car accident attorney. Do not speak with an insurance adjuster before speaking with your lawyer. Your attorney will explain your legal options to you and help you take your first steps toward fair compensation.