Reckless driving is a serious issue on California highways. The parameters of what can be considered reckless driving are actually very wide, and they can range from something simple like changing lanes too frequently without signaling to something more dramatic such as excessive speeding or driving decisions that were intended to harm the victim.
Standard compensatory damages
Just as with standard car accidents when drivers are moderately negligent, victims of a reckless driving incident can file first for reimbursement of all medical bills associated with treatment for accident injuries. Additionally, it is possible to sue for lost wages when the victim is unable to work because of the associated medical problems. Inability to work can also include issues with mental anguish as well as physical injury.
General compensatory damages
In addition to specified economic damages that are the primary component of any reckless driving claim, general damages may also be included in insurance settlement negotiations. General damages are still considered compensatory, but they are awarded for pain and suffering from the auto accident injuries and the difficulties they present in life going forward for the victim claimant. This claim element is vital, and it is what usually makes victims financially whole after the case is finally settled.
Punitive damage potential is also a serious possibility in reckless driving accident cases in California, but these are not automatically awarded and cannot be submitted in the insurance company claim negotiation process. These financial awards are considered non-economic punishment by the court, and they are subject to restrictions based on material case details and personal assets of the reckless driver when total awards are approved.