Experienced Phoenix Auto Accident Lawyers to Fight for What You Deserve
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Arizona due to a particularly aggressive and reckless defendant-driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Litigating such claims may involve unique challenges and opportunities. Claims brought against aggressive drivers may be easier to prove and they may even give you access to punitive damages. Merely winning a case is not enough in the context of personal injury litigation. Severe injuries require substantial compensation. As such, it’s important that you consult experienced Phoenix auto accident lawyers who understand how to secure a win and maximize your overall compensation. Contact Hirsch & Lyon today to learn more.
What Qualifies as Aggressive and Reckless Driving in Arizona?
Aggressive and reckless driving covers a broad set of motor vehicle misconduct that includes, but is not necessarily limited to:
- Road rage
- Going through a red light
- Excessive speeding
- Weaving through traffic
- Merging without signaling
- Intentionally skidding
Whether conduct qualifies as “aggressive and reckless” above and beyond standard negligence will largely depend on the situation. The court must evaluate whether the conduct violates the standard of care applicable to the circumstances.
For example, if a driver is speeding 15 miles per hour above the speed limit on a highway with a 65 miles per hour speed limit, that may not be considered “aggressive and reckless.” By comparison, speeding 15 miles per hour above the speed limit in a residential area with a 30 miles per hour speed limit would likely be considered “aggressive and reckless.”
Liability May Be Easier to Prove and Juries May Be More Sympathetic for These Claims
Depending on the particular conduct that the defendant engages in with respect to their aggressive and reckless driving, it may be easier to prove liability in a subsequent injury lawsuit. Why? Because in Arizona, the violation of traffic laws is automatic negligence, known legally as negligence per se. In a standard car accident dispute, you would have to show that the defendant’s conduct did not meet the standard of care under the circumstances, and thus qualifies as negligence. However, in some aggressive and reckless driving scenarios (i.e., speeding), the defendant’s violation of traffic regulations will preclude you from having to prove that they were negligent. All you have to show is that their misconduct (speeding in this example) substantially contributed to your injuries.
Strategically, it is worth noting that aggressive and reckless driving disputes are somewhat easier to litigate in that juries tend to be more sympathetic to injured plaintiffs when the defendant’s behavior is particularly unsafe. For example, if the defendant was weaving aggressively in and out of traffic to impress their friends, then the jury may be far more likely to favor the injured plaintiff who suffered from such foolish, reckless behavior rather than consider the perspective of the defendant. Our Phoenix auto accident lawyers know that opposing attorneys are aware of this perception disadvantage and they are typically more willing to negotiate a fair settlement in cases where their client (the defendant) has acted aggressively or recklessly.
The Potential for Punitive Damages in Arizona Car Accident Cases
In Arizona, as in other states, punitive damages are infrequently awarded by courts in personal injury litigation.
Punitive damages are different. They are not meant to compensate you for your injuries, but are instead meant to “punish” the defendant for particularly malicious or egregious conduct. Punitive damages may be a multiple of the compensatory damages amount (i.e., a $100,000 compensatory damages amount may lead to a $500,000 punitive damages award, or $600,000 in total). The theory behind punitive damages is that by imposing severe financial harm on the defendant, it will discourage others in society from conducting themselves in the same, dangerous manner.
If you’ve been injured in an aggressive and reckless driving accident, you may be able to win this extra compensation. Aggressive and reckless driving can potentially be painted as a “reckless disregard for the safety of others” which, in Arizona, gives the court the power to award punitive damages. It’s important to note, however, that punitive damages awards are still up to the discretion of the court, and as such, your Phoenix car accident lawyer will have to make a convincing argument for them to be awarded.
Contact the Phoenix Auto Accident Lawyers at Hirsch & Lyon for Legal Assistance
Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of attorneys boasts decades of experience advocating on behalf of injured plaintiffs in motor vehicle accidents, including those that are based on claims asserting that the defendant was aggressively and recklessly operating their vehicle at the time of the accident.
Many personal injury litigation firms make lofty promises as to their ability to provide personalized and sophisticated representation in the practice area at issue, but we’ve proven it. Unlike so many of our competitors in Arizona, we focus entirely on motor vehicle accident disputes, and have successfully recovered compensation for our clients through both negotiated settlements and trial litigation alike. Our focus ensures that we can commit extensive resources to each client’s case, and we have gained unique insights into the challenges of motor vehicle disputes — challenges that can mean the difference between a minor win and a multimillion dollar award.
Call us at 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our online contact form to get in touch with one of our experienced Phoenix auto accident lawyers. Consultation is free and confidential.