If you were in a car crash caused by someone speeding or racing, our Eastern Kentucky attorneys work hard to protect your legal rights and pursue the financial compensation you deserve from reckless street racers and their insurance companies.
According to Kentucky Statute 189.505, “No person shall engage upon any street or highway in motor vehicle racing, drag racing, or any other form of competition involving motor vehicles.”
Drivers convicted of unlawful racing are fined up to $100, and four points are assessed against the driver’s license for “reckless driving.” But if they hurt or kill someone while street racing, street racers’ intentional disregard for others’ safety produces serious criminal charges and makes them liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil damages owed the victims or their survivors. A couple of facts about street racing and their participants:
- The great majority of them are males between the ages of 15 and 23.
- Nearly 60 percent of street drag-racing fatalities are between the ages of 15 and 30.
When you are injured in a crash – or a beloved family member is killed – by someone driving a car in an unlawful street race in which you were not participating, you can file a claim against the driver’s insurer (and possibly others) based on willful negligence. All drivers have a legal duty to not drive in a manner that endangers others. Obviously, driving recklessly breaches that duty and exposes them to liability to pay very high monetary damages to you and your family.
Street Racing Can’t be Mistaken for Simple Negligence
While getting distracted by a conversation with a passenger is bad and can put the safety of others at risk, it is neither intentional nor extremely reckless; but street racing is so apparently risky and intentional that it is often viewed as grossly negligent. If a driver is street racing on a public Kentucky road, he or she is completely ignoring the safety of others. Legally-speaking, this is an extremely important distinction to make, because victims of gross negligence may seek punitive damages.
Often referred to as exemplary damages, punitive damages are a form of compensation that is designed to punish the reckless actions of a grossly negligent party, above the usual damages the defendant would owe. Victims of street-racing accidents are still entitled to seek the full extent of available compensatory damages, but substantial punitive damages can be awarded on top of compensatory damages. Cases involving punitive damages are especially complex and will always require professional legal assistance.
Street racing (usually drag racing, where two drivers start at a red light and then “burn rubber” for a mile or more and often through intersections) come in two forms:
- Spontaneous street races involve two cars pulling up next to each other at a stoplight. After communicating intent (usually gunning their engines while the light is still red) the vehicles immediately begin to race each other when the light turns green. Though meant to be spontaneous and fun, this endangers anyone who happens to be in proximity, especially drivers who enter an intersection seconds before the speeding cars hit it. Inexperienced drivers who speed are also likely to “wipe out” and run into buildings, homes, other property … or innocent bystanders.
- Organized drag races are fueled by social media and popular culture to the point that structured rings are popping up all over the U.S., including in Kentucky. Their secretly organized events involve numerous vehicles, multiple races, many race courses, and “lookouts” as far as a mile away who watch for law enforcement. Not long ago, almost 20 drivers and fellow participants were busted for street racing in Louisville — all but one of them under 21.
Willfully Reckless Street Racers Deserve Their Punishment
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a traffic accident where illegal street racing may have been involved, the experienced legal team at Eastern Kentucky’s Billy Johnson Law Firm can help. We are committed to seeking full financial recovery for those who have been hurt by drivers who choose to ignore the law and risk lives by racing in our community’s streets and highways. In addition to paying for their crimes when street racers injure or kill Kentucky citizens, they also deserve to pay for the injuries, damages and losses their willful negligence causes their victims. Contact us toll free at 606-433-0682 or fill out our online form to arrange a free consultation. If we don’t collect, you don’t pay.