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Street Racing and Injury Liability

Posted in Blog on August 2, 2016

Street racing, or drag racing, refers to a type of informal auto competition that takes place on public streets. Sometimes street racing occurs spontaneously, while other times it is loosely organized. Regardless, it also illegal and extremely dangerous. Far too many innocent people suffer serious injuries because of irresponsible street racing activity. If you have been injured in a street racing accident, you need to speak to an experienced Boulder attorney as soon as possible.

Street Racing is Often Gross Negligence

traffic light

Negligence is the legal theory that provides the basis for most Colorado car accident injury claims. Essentially, a person is negligent when they fail to take proper care when performing an action. For example, if a driver was momentarily distracted by a conversation with their passenger, and as a result, they rear-end your vehicle, that driver was negligent. They failed to take proper care and you suffered damage as a result. You can hold them liable for your damages. There is also a ‘higher’ level of negligence that is known as ‘gross negligence’. As was defined by the Supreme Court of Colorado in the case of White v. Hansen, gross negligence is conduct that is not only negligent, but is also deemed to be:

  • Intentional;
  • Willful; or
  • Recklessly indifferent.

While getting distracted by a conversation with a passenger is bad, and it can put the safety of others at risk, it is neither intentional nor extremely reckless. On the other hand, street racing is so obviously risky and intentional that it can be considered gross negligence. If a driver is engaging in street racing on a public Colorado road, they are 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.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages, also sometimes referred to as exemplary damages, are a form of compensation that is fundamentally designed to punish the reckless actions of a grossly negligent party. To understand how punitive damages work, you need to understand how car accident injury damages work in general. In most cases, victims of negligence are entitled to seek only compensatory damages. This means that the injury compensation that they receive is meant to be directly proportional to the amount of damage that they suffered in the accident. So if you were injured in an auto accident, and you required $10,000 in medical treatment, you will entitled to seek a corresponding $10,000 in damages. Victims of street racing accidents are still entitled to seek the full extent of available compensatory damages, but they may also be entitled to additional punitive damages as well. 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.

Contact Our Office Today

If you have been the victim of a street racing accident, the experienced Colorado auto accident attorneys at Zaner Harden Law can help. Please do not hesitate to contact our car accident lawyers in Denver at 303-558-6221 to set up a free initial review of your case.

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