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Racing and Personal Injury Claims - What is the Low-Down?

One of the intriguing aspects of motor racing is the danger and risk.

Drivers constantly push the limits of their vehicles. Spectators are enthralled at the dance with danger that drivers undertake voluntarily.

Occasionally, there are accidents, and sometimes drivers are injured, sometimes seriously.

Racing accidents are rare, and only one example of car crashes may result in personal injury claims.

The most common types of car crashes resulting in personal injury claims are from everyday commuter accidents.

Can a driver successfully pursue a personal injury claim if a driver suffers an injury?

First, a few statistics. More than 520 people died in U.S. auto racing between 1990 and 2014.

Accident frequency was one per 3.000 miles raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway between 1981 to 1984.

Street Car Racing Versus Race Track Racing

There is no question of a personal injury claim for any injuries suffered by a driver while illegal street car racing, as the driver has assumed the risk and participated in an illegal activity that caused the accident.

Suppose spectators are injured due to the driver losing control or another innocent driver being injured by the vehicle. In that case, there will be a personal injury claim and criminal action against the driver.

Punitive damages in such a case can leave the driver and his insurance company open to damages as much as nine times higher than usual.

Race track racing can result in a personal injury claim by the driver, even though the driver may have taken on the risk and even signed a waiver.

Every case turns on its own facts. However, significant awards have been made for severe injuries sustained in a racing event.

Even in the presence of a signed waiver protecting the race track from being sued, personal liability awards have been made. If safety precautions that should have been taken were not taken or if safety modifications were not made to the race vehicle, liability could arise.

Who can You Claim From in a Street Racing Accident?

Usually, the insurance company covering the driver will refuse to pay out in a street racing scenario. So instead, you will need to claim from the vehicle's driver in their personal capacity.

This is often unsatisfactory as the driver may not be worth much and may have insufficient assets to cover the amount claimed.

Street racing accidents often see both criminal and civil lawsuits for the same accident. Suppose you intend to bring a civil lawsuit for personal injury. In that case, it is better to do so once guilt has been proven in the criminal case. This facilitates your case and means you only need to prove the damage amount claimed.

A guilty verdict is not necessary before proceeding with your personal injury claim.

Notably, the standard for proving guilt differs in a criminal and civil case, with guilt being easier to prove in a civil matter.

In Summary

Racing is a dangerous game, whether legal or illegal. The majority of personal injury claims relating to racing accidents are brought by bystanders and innocent drivers who have been injured due to racing accidents.

Suppose there is negligence on the race track or race organizer. In that case, liability may arise even where a waiver has been signed.

Drivers involved in street racing accidents face both civil and criminal liability.

The bottom line is to race at the track and make sure that proper safety protocols are adhered to at all times.

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