When Reckless Driving Injures You in the Bronx, What Should You Do?

Between buses, taxis, ridesharing, and personal vehicles, traffic can present difficulties enough in the Bronx. It’s only made worse by those who disregard the law and drive recklessly, putting others who share the road at even greater risk of accidents and injuries. The NYPD issues numerous traffic citations every day in the Bronx, including reckless driving tickets—but that doesn’t fully deter reckless drivers who speed, drive while distracted, and engage in other dangerous driving behaviors.

If an accident with a reckless driver injured you in the Bronx, contact experienced Bronx car crash attorneys who can advise you about how to recover compensation for your injury expenses and impacts.

Until you have the chance to consult a lawyer, the following guide provides some general information about reckless driving, factors often associated with reckless driving, penalties for reckless drivers in New York, the kinds of damages you might recover after a Bronx reckless driver causes an accident that leads to injuries, and steps you should take to protect your Bronx reckless driver claim.

Bronx Reckless Driving Includes Various Driver Behaviors

According to New York law, a reckless driver includes those who operate a motor vehicle in a way that is contrary to normal use of a public road or which puts others who share the road at risk for injury or death. Reckless driving is prohibited, and constitutes a misdemeanor criminal offense in the Bronx, and comes with penalties. The law does not state the exact driver behaviors that count as reckless driving, probably because the circumstances in which driving may be considered reckless can vary so broadly.

For example, drivers in the Bronx can receive a traffic citation for speeding if they travel faster than the speed limit. However, if a driver is speeding excessively or causes an accident, especially one that leads to severe injuries or death, the NYPD might issue a reckless driving citation along with or instead of a speeding ticket.

While the actions that constitute reckless driving in the Bronx are indefinite, some scenarios more frequently constitute reckless driving, including:

  • Excessive speeding that results in a driver veering off the road
  • Driving through an NYPD barricade
  • Driving into the path of oncoming traffic
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially when it leads to a collision

Drivers who violate traffic regulations and cause damage to vehicles or other property, injuries, or fatalities likely may receive a reckless driving ticket from the NYPD.

Common Motivations of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving garners a lot of attention for those who study traffic accidents and traffic safety, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Reckless driving often leads to devastating traffic crashes. Understanding why reckless driving occurs helps lawmakers and policymakers make decisions to improve traffic safety.

The NHTSA categorizes reckless driving as a form of aggressive driving. NHTSA’s definition is similar to New York’s. According to the NHTSA, an aggressive driver operates a motor vehicle in a way that puts property and others on the road in danger of harm. While NHTSA made any conclusions about the direct causes of reckless driving, it has been able to identify four common motivations for reckless driving after studying data from the NYPD and other police departments throughout the United States, including:

Heavy Traffic

The Bronx is notorious for its traffic congestion. Drivers regularly experience delays, and those who lack patience may choose to drive aggressively to escape traffic. Traffic accidents, roadwork, special events, and funeral processions are examples of things that slow down traffic in the Bronx even more. Aggressive drivers might dart in and out of traffic, tailgate other vehicles, or speed as fast as the traffic will allow them, all of which increase the risk of accidents.

Running Late

People in the Bronx, like people anywhere, sometimes run late. Whether late for work, on their way to conduct business, or to pick up a child, drivers sometimes become aggressive in response to the obligations they are behind on. On top of work, people have to deal with various obligations from appointments, business meetings, picking up kids from school, school functions, attending college classes, and more. Many people are on the run from the moment they get up in the morning. Even those who are typically on time find themselves running late on occasion.

While many people end up running behind at some point, it’s no excuse for aggressive driving, and if they cause an accident while driving aggressively, they should be held accountable for any injuries that result. Feeling rushed leads to reckless driving and potential accidents because Bronx drivers concentrate on their lateness instead of focusing on arriving safely to their destination.

Feelings of Anonymity

Sometimes emotions and psychology motivate drivers to engage in reckless driving behaviors. NHTSA research finds that drivers have feelings of anonymity while driving their vehicles, which leads them to feel detached from others and less accountable. This feeling of detachment is magnified in the Bronx and other large urban areas with a maw of drivers on the road at any time. By comparison in a small town, a driver might not feel the same sense of security in anonymity, as they are more likely to pass someone they know. Not every driver who feels anonymous or detached starts driving recklessly. However, a sense of anonymity does motivate some to drive aggressively in the Bronx, especially if they are in a hurry or running late.

Pathological Behavior

Reckless driving does not occur as frequently as other moving violations, but reckless drivers frequently engage in dangerous driving behaviors. NHTSA research finds that some drivers might just have rough days and make poor choices while driving. But most reckless drivers are repeat offenders. They speed, weave in and out of traffic, race, and ignore traffic control devices without any thought about the damage they could cause. Reckless drivers often have underlying pathologies that push them to the edge and lead to aggressive driving. As they repeatedly engage in these behaviors, they become reckless drivers as a matter of habit. Dealing with traffic congestion, running late, and feeling detached may only compound the reckless driving behavior of a habitually reckless driver.

Penalties for Bronx Reckless Driving

Reckless drivers in the Bronx do not always face penalties for their driving. After all, you aren’t in trouble unless you get caught, and with all of the traffic violations and other matters demanding the authorities’ attention, many reckless drivers fly under the radar. However, reckless drivers that cause accidents, property damage, and injuries can usually expect a reckless driving ticket from the NYPD. A reckless driving ticket remains on an individual’s criminal record, as it is a misdemeanor criminal offense. The exact fines and penalties vary among drivers based on their criminal and driving history.

Fines and Fees for Reckless Driving in the Bronx

First-time reckless driving offenders could be fined up to $300, with fines increasing after each offense. A second reckless driving ticket within a year and a half of the first carries a fine of up to $525. Those who get a third reckless driving citation face a maximum fine of $1,125. Fines do not include the extra surcharges and fees, adding hundreds of dollars to a ticket depending on the situation.

Jail Time for Reckless Driving in the Bronx

A reckless driver in the Bronx might even go to jail. New York takes reckless driving seriously, and some reckless drivers end up spending time behind bars. Depending on the exact situation, someone convicted of reckless driving in the Bronx might face up to 180 days in jail. A first reckless driving offense carries up to a month in jail, a second offense up to three months in jail. A New York court can order repeat offenders with three or more offenses up to six months in jail.

Drivers’ License Penalties After Bronx Reckless Driving

Bronx drivers’ licenses have a point system. A point value is attached to each violation a driver commits. Points against a license might drive one’s insurance rates up. Depending on the number of points and the nature of the moving violations, the state could suspend or permanently revoke a person’s driver’s license. Reckless drivers in the Bronx receive five points against their license if they get a citation.

Recovering Damages After a Bronx Reckless Driving Accident

If you sustained injuries in a Bronx reckless driving accident, New York law might permit you to seek compensation for damages related to the accident and your injuries by bringing a lawsuit against the reckless driver. First, you need to report the accident to your insurance company and file a claim under your mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) policy, which is required for all New Yorkers who register a vehicle. If you have PIP coverage, you can receive benefits to cover medical expenses, some lost wages, and additional non-medical expenses.

Once you exhaust your own insurance, you might be able to file a claim against the reckless driver, depending on the extent of your injuries and the damages you sustained. Damages may include compensation for various economic and non-economic losses stemming from your accident injuries.

Bronx reckless driving accident injury victims commonly receive compensation for some or all of the following damages:

  • Medical expenses not covered by your PIP insurance, potentially including ambulance service to an NYC Health Hospital or another hospital in the Bronx, emergency room treatment, surgery, diagnostic scans, lab tests, prescriptions, and hospitalization
  • Estimated future medical treatment costs, when reckless driving leads to a severe injury that requires ongoing treatment beyond the date of a settlement or court award
  • Rehabilitation costs for physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health services, or other specialized treatment that help accident victims deal with the physical and emotional consequences of their injuries
  • Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes, and artificial limbs
  • Lost wages from missing work due to a reckless driving accident, subsequent hospitalization, and time in recovery
  • Lost earning capacity, when a reckless driving accident leads to a catastrophic injury that prevents a victim from working
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Punitive damages, also referred to as exemplary damages in New York, are sometimes available in Bronx reckless driving accident cases. Courts award punitive damages in cases that involve gross negligence or intentional harm. Reckless driving is more likely to involve gross negligence than a typical negligence car accident case. An attorney can review the facts of your Bronx reckless driving case to determine if you might be eligible to receive punitive damages.

Protecting Your Bronx Reckless Driving Claim

You deserve compensation for any injuries and impacts you sustained in the Bronx due to a reckless driver. However, you need to keep a few things in mind to protect your claim and preserve your chance to recover maximum compensation for your injuries.

Tips to help you preserve the value of your Bronx reckless driving accident claim include:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident so you have documentation of your injuries in your medical record. Your medical record serves as valuable evidence to support your claim by showing the accident led to your injuries, and that you did not contribute to your injuries by failing to promptly seek medical treatment.
  • If you can physically function after the accident, gather as much information as possible while waiting for the NYPD to respond to your accident. If you can get the driver’s name, contact info, and insurance policy information without a problem, record it. A reckless driver might be angry and belligerent, so do not put yourself in harm’s way. In such a case, at least try to write down the reckless driver’s license plate number, and the make and model of their vehicle. This can be especially important in the event the reckless driver leaves the scene of the accident.
  • Take pictures of property damage and your visible injuries.
  • Contact an experienced Bronx accident injury lawyer to help you through the legal process, protect your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve.