Until we have solely self-driving vehicles, drivers are humans with emotions. Anger and impatience might influence their driving. A driver lacking control and possibly traveling at high speeds can turn a car into a dangerous weapon.
While a driver might only intend to release their anger and frustration, road rage can easily cause them to crash and seriously injure others. When impatience and rage lead to severe injuries and losses, you can hold the road-raging driver fully responsible for your losses. Their insurance company should offer an adequate settlement to cover these losses.
You may seek substantial financial compensation if a road rage accident injured you or a loved one. You need an experienced attorney to represent you, as you face many hurdles and roadblocks to get the compensation you deserve. Seek help from a car accident attorney who represents road rage victims today.
Road Rage Can Take On Many Forms
It does not take much to cause road rage, and getting agitated behind the wheel is common for many drivers. While everyone should remain calm and level-headed while driving, other drivers’ poor behavior or unexpected delays present challenges. While you may feel impatient and frustrated, some drivers allow these emotions to lead to dangerous conduct.
There is a fine line between anger and retaliatory actions deliberately designed to endanger you. When road rage crosses that line, and we have all heard of shocking incidents when angry drivers have physically confronted other drivers. Some have even opened fire and killed others.
While most drivers do not try to intentionally put others in harm’s way, some people resort to this reprehensible conduct.
Road rage can feel like getting the last word in an argument, and drivers will assert themselves in dangerous ways to prove their point. Some of these involve tailgating, weaving around traffic, or cutting off other drivers. Others might escalate the situation further and threaten other drivers with words or weapons.
Even if road rage does not result in a physical altercation, facing threats or dangerous road ragers can distract other drivers. They might focus on road rage threats and fail to see an obstacle in the road. In such ways, road rage can lead to collisions that do not even involve the instigating angry driver.
All loss of emotional control behind the wheel is dangerous. When the emotion is anger and rage, it often results in devastating injuries and damages.
Many Drivers Commit Road Rage Regularly
More than four in every five drivers admit to road rage. Drivers will excessively honk, curse, or even make obscene gestures at other drivers. While none of these are good things, they are not as bad as drivers’ actions to consciously endanger you.
Road rage statistics detail that some drivers have a menacing and dark side. Even if it is a small minority, the numbers represent millions of drivers. For example, 5 percent of drivers admit to intentionally bumping into another car or trying to force it off the road. All it takes is one maniacal and angry driver to cause severe injuries to you or your loved one.
Here are three examples of extreme road rage that can lead to serious injuries.
1. Excessive Tailgating
A driver may express their frustrations by intimidating you. Whatever their perception of what you did, they may need to repair their ego and assert dominance. They want to feel like they have power over you, so they will try to make you afraid.
A driver may try to intimidate you by getting right up on your back bumper, violating your personal space and making you feel you cannot escape them. The driver will tailgate so you will look in your rearview mirror, see their presence, and feel frightened.
The usual rule for distance between two vehicles is one car length for every ten miles per hour, and it is hazardous for a car to be practically up against your bumper. If you stop short for any reason, they might hit you from behind, risking a whiplash injury. These injuries will become life-threatening if the other driver crashes into you at a high speed.
Even if a car taps your bumper, it can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, running you off the road or putting you in the path of oncoming traffic. Then, you may have an even more serious accident.
Unfortunately, police do not always manage to catch and stop a tailgating driver. By the time law enforcement arrives, you may have already suffered injuries in a terrible accident.
2. Trying to Cut You Off in Traffic
Again, road rage is often a form of the other driver acting out to jeopardize your safety. They want to ensure you notice them and their perceived revenge on you. Another common road rage maneuver is to cut a driver off in traffic, usually by weaving in front of their vehicle. Drivers may also want to assert dominance from the front, knowing that you directly see their car, causing you to react suddenly to their maneuvers.
As much as you want to try to avoid the other driver, they may not let you get away from them. Cutting you off puts you in extra danger.
You may need to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting the driver who weaved in front of you. Then, another driver may injure you in a rear-end car accident. You may not react in time and hit the rageful driver, damaging the front of your car and injuring you.
Alternatively, you can lose control of your car because you cannot react to the other driver’s maneuvers. Then, you can end up in a multi-car crash at high speed, leading to severe injuries. It is difficult to know how to react when another driver suddenly cuts you off, and there are very few right moves that you can make.
3. Intentionally Bumping Into Another Vehicle
Sometimes, intentionally trying to intimidate you through close presence is not enough for a rageful driver. They may try to crash into or ram your car, and although this behavior constitutes assault, many drivers admit to having done this within the past year.
Bumping is dangerous from several perspectives. First, the initial ramming from the enraged driver can cause a significant accident that causes you injury. Second, a slight tap can cause you to lose control, either by altering the course of your direction or by startling you.
Even if a driver thinks they are only sending you a message, they are committing assault with a deadly weapon because a car can become an instrument of harm. However, some drivers become so enraged that they completely lose control, no matter the circumstances.
If the other driver has consciously hit you with the front of their car, you can prove fault in the crash because of the traditional rules of car accident liability. You may have suffered severe injuries in the accident and need every dollar you get in compensation.
Speaking to Witnesses After the Accident
Perhaps the most helpful form of evidence is witness testimony from people who saw what the other driver was doing at the time of the accident. People might have seen the other driver on your back bumper or weaving in and out of traffic, and some may have even stopped at the accident scene to give their contact information and version of what they saw.
You may have obtained contact information at the accident scene, but you might not interview witnesses at the scene beyond an initial question or two. After all, your accident may have occurred at a high speed, and you might have suffered serious injuries. If you needed emergency transportation, you might not have spoken to witnesses at all.
The police report from the accident should contain the contact information for the witnesses and perhaps a summary of what they saw. This report can document persuasive evidence during an insurance claim. Your car accident attorney can use the information listed on the report as the building block for your case against the other driver.
Locating the Driver After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Further, your accident might have been a hit-and-run. If the other driver is callous enough to menace you through acts of road rage, they may also have little respect for other aspects of the law.
If they know that they have egregiously broken the law and perhaps are facing criminal charges, they may not stop at the scene after the accident. They may have been the initial cause of the accident, but not the driver who was ultimately involved in the accident.
You may need to:
- Deal with your insurance as part of an uninsured motorist claim
- Try to track down the driver who was involved in the road rage incident
Compensation in a Road Rage Accident Case
Besides proving liability, you must ensure you received enough compensation for your injuries. Even if there is little doubt about what happened, the insurance company will not offer you all the money you deserve right off the bat.
If they know the accident involved a highly culpable driver, they may offer a more reasonable settlement, but that will only come after a more protracted negotiation.
Your road rage accident compensation will consist of:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Embarrassment and humiliation
Emotional distress can constitute a large part of your road rage accident damages. It can permanently scar you knowing that someone consciously tried to hurt you and caused your injuries. You may find it difficult to get back behind the wheel after the trauma you suffered.
How an Attorney Can Help You in a Road Rage Accident Case
You must hire an attorney early in the personal injury process.
An experienced New York personal injury lawyer can:
- Gather evidence that can help prove fault in the case
- Locate the responsible driver if they did not stop at the accident scene
- Work with experts to estimate the value of your damages so you know how much to seek in a claim
- File a claim with the relevant insurance company or companies on your behalf
- Negotiate for you to receive total compensation for your injuries
- File a lawsuit on your behalf if a fair settlement agreement is not forthcoming
You are dealing with injuries and the intricacies of the legal process. An experienced attorney can handle your case from start to finish and help you get the most possible money. You do not need to write your attorney a check to get them working for you – they only receive payment if you win.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.