Reckless Driving in Residential Areas
Many devastating motor vehicle collisions happen in neighborhoods only a few miles away from the victim’s residence. Despite the well-established speed limits and other traffic laws that apply to driving in residential communities, many drivers still operate their vehicles recklessly in these areas. Their actions may put unsuspecting families and children at risk of suffering serious harm. Tragically, these accidents are completely avoidable, and a victim struck by a reckless driver in a residential area usually has legal rights to assert. If you have found yourself in this situation, Knoxville car accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe is ready to investigate the details of your case and guide you through the legal process.Establishing Liability for Reckless Driving in a Residential Area
When operating a motor vehicle, a driver must use the same level of prudence and skill that a reasonable driver would use in a similar situation. Since there are clear rules requiring drivers to operate their vehicles at a safe speed and in a reasonable manner in residential areas, someone who fails to act according to these rules was likely violating the applicable standard of care.
Under TCA 55-10-205, motorists are prohibited from driving recklessly at all times, including in residential areas. TCA 55-8-152 also provides that drivers must adhere to posted speed limits. When a driver breaks one or more of these traffic rules, the plaintiff probably can establish negligence per se, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the defendant acted negligently. To trigger this presumption, the plaintiff must show that the defendant violated a statute or local ordinance that is designed to protect the safety of the public or a group of people and that the plaintiff was within the group that the legislature intended to protect by enacting the statute.
After the plaintiff proves that the other driver drove recklessly in causing a collision in a residential community, he or she must show that this failure was the cause of his or her injuries. A broad range of compensatory damages may be available, including both economic and non-economic damages. Some examples of economic damages include lost income and medical bills, while non-economic damages may compensate a victim for pain and suffering or any scarring or disfigurement caused by the crash.
It is also critical to be aware that, in cases involving recklessness, the plaintiff may seek punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for especially unconscionable conduct. According to TCA 39-11-302(a) and the Tennessee Supreme Court decision in Hodges v. S.C. Toof & Co., punitive damages may be awarded if the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted recklessly rather than merely carelessly in causing the accident. This is a higher standard of proof than the preponderance of the evidence standard used in most negligence claims, but a knowledgeable attorney can compile a persuasive case for why it should be met.Explore Your Options with a Car Accident Lawyer in the Knoxville Area
If you or your child has been struck by a reckless motorist in a residential area, you should assert your right to compensation. Experienced Knoxville car accident attorney Mark Hartsoe has provided legal guidance and representation to people in many communities throughout Tennessee. Our team can guide you through each step of the process and help you gather the evidence you need to bring a persuasive claim. For a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision lawyer, call us at 865-524-5657 or contact us online to set up an appointment.