Prescott Car Accident Attorneys Discuss Reckless Driving

“Not only are car accident victims entitled to compensation for their injuries, but reckless drivers will also need to pay fines and may even spend time in jail for their actions.”

Chris Goodnow, an experienced Prescott car accident attorney and founding member of the law firm Goodnow McKay, has been representing injured car accident victims in Arizona for years. In his time practicing in the state, he’s seen reckless drivers cause injuries ranging anywhere from minor whiplash to wrongful death.

According to Attorney Goodnow, many injury victims don’t realize that under Arizona auto accident laws, there are a few things that drivers MUST do after a car accident, particularly reckless drivers who’ve caused injuries. Below are some of the laws that Attorney Goodnow says are good to be aware of if you’ve been in an auto accident in Prescott.

Reckless Driving Is a Criminal Offense

Because of the dangers posed to other drivers, reckless driving is a criminal offense under Arizona law. So, not only are car accident victims entitled to compensation for their injuries, but reckless drivers will also need to pay fines and may even spend time in jail for their actions.

“Reckless Driving” Under Arizona Law

Under Arizona law, reckless driving is when a person “drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Any person who is convicted of reckless driving in Arizona is guilty of a Class 2 Misdemeanor for their first offense. In Arizona, a Class 2 Misdemeanor is punishable by:

    • license suspension up to 90 days
    • probation
    • a maximum of four months in jail
    • up to $750 in fines plus surcharges

Drivers caught recklessly driving a second time within 24 months of the first conviction will face a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Class 1 Misdemeanors are punishable by:

    • license revocation
    • up to six months in jail with a mandatory minimum of 20 days in jail
    • up to $2500 in fines plus surcharges

Auto accidents in Prescott, especially high-speed accidents, are dangerous enough as it is. According to Attorney Goodnow, these penalties are imposed regularly to deter drivers from engaging in such dangerous behavior.

As a Prescott car accident attorney, Goodnow doesn’t participate in criminal proceedings, but he always encourages his clients to comply with any requests made by prosecutors and police. Criminal proceedings can help his clients with their personal injury claims since the police will usually be able to obtain evidence that can be used in an insurance claim or civil lawsuit.

Whether They “Intended” to Be Reckless Is Not Important

Justin Mckay, the other founding member of Goodnow Mckay and also a top Prescott car accident attorney, notes that many reckless drivers will immediately argue that they “didn’t mean to” cause the car accident or “didn’t mean to” drive the way they were driving. Unfortunately for those drivers, it doesn’t matter whether they intended to drive recklessly or not because the intent is not required. The law only requires “reckless disregard” for another person’s safety.

For example, just last month, a Prescott driver was charged with a serious case of reckless driving when he sped past a police officer, almost hitting the officer’s vehicle. In this case, even if he argues that he didn’t mean to get so close to hitting the police car, he will still be convicted of reckless driving. This driver also committed other intentional crimes after police tried to pull him over.

Although automobile safety in Prescott is clearly important to our local police, for many drivers, it’s at the bottom of their priority list. Unfortunately, safe drivers often end up injured because of this.

Reckless Drivers Have a Duty to Give you Their Information and Provide Help

Prescott traffic accidents can result in either minor property damage and injuries or very serious injuries that require immediate medical attention.

Attorney Goodnow says that Arizona has created specific traffic laws to help injured parties right after the accident and prevent responsible drivers from leaving the scene or avoiding identification. These laws are especially important when reckless drivers are involved.

Drivers Have to Give you Their Information

“Many injury victims don’t realize that under Arizona auto accident laws, there are a few things that drivers MUST do after a car accident, particularly reckless drivers who’ve caused injuries.”

When an accident results in injury, death, or damage to a vehicle driven by a person, a driver has to give other drivers involved the following information:

  • name
  • address
  • registration number of the vehicle they’re driving
  • if requested, their driver’s license.

Drivers Must Help You if Necessary Treatment Is “Apparent”

If it’s apparent to the driver that you need medical assistance, they must provide you with “reasonable assistance” which includes making arrangements for transporting you to a doctor, surgeon, or hospital so that you can receive medical treatment.

As Prescott car accident lawyers we have seen instances when reckless drivers thought that as long as they didn’t flee the scene of an accident, they were in compliance with the law. This is far below the bar that Arizona has set to improve automobile safety in Prescott and beyond.

Prescott Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

A Prescott automobile accident attorney can assist you if you have been injured due to a reckless driver. Although there are plenty of Arizona car accident law firms, local Prescott auto injury lawyers like Goodnow McKay will be best equipped to handle your case. With several decades of experience, we can help you navigate the legal system, protect your legal rights, and make sure you don’t miss any deadlines. We understand the applicable local laws and have a closer relationship with the courts and police involved in your case. Contact the team at Goodnow McKay for a free review of your car accident case.