While it is true that many drivers around the world can get frazzled and frustrated behind the wheel, some drivers take matters too far by actually committing acts of road rage against other motorists. Road rage is considered any form of aggressive driving that is deliberate and intends to frighten, intimidate, or harm another driver. In many scenarios, law enforcement officers actually consider road rage to be a form of assault and battery, which can be cited in a personal injury claim in the event of a car accident caused by road rage.
Utilizing Punitive Damages to Punish Criminal Behavior
Victims of road rage can turn to a personal injury attorney for help filing a claim that considers all possible damages. The usual damages should be included, such as medical costs, lost wages, and any fees related to repairing their vehicle. But punitive damages should also be considered. Citing punitive damages essentially asks the court to reward the plaintiff further to penalize the criminal behavior of the defendant; in the case of road rage, this is assault and battery, or vehicular manslaughter if someone loses their life due to aggressive driving. The criminal case will be separate from the civil dispute, but testimonies within the criminal case could potentially be used as evidence for the injury claim.
Hit & Run Road Rage Incidents
Since most people know that committing acts of road rage is illegal, the typical aggressive driver will not stick around after running someone off the road or otherwise trying to cause them harm. For this reason, many incidents of road rage constitute hit and run accidents.
Anyone who is the victim of a hit and run accident should notify the police at once. With some luck, a description of the vehicle, and noting where the driver headed after the road rage incident, police may be able to identify the driver and make an arrest. If the aggressive motorist is never located, a victim of road rage still has an opportunity to seek compensation.
Insurance companies should view hit and run accidents, even those involving road rage, as an accident with an uninsured motorist. Since the driver is not to be found, it may as well be the same thing as knowing who the driver is but finding out they have no insurance whatsoever. A victim of road rage may be able to collect insurance coverage if he or she has uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of their car insurance policy. If the insurer does not want to pay out any coverage, the matter might require the intervention of a car accident lawyer to resolve.
Safe Driving Behaviors to Avoid Road Rage Drivers
The best way to stay out of trouble with a driver exhibiting road rage behaviors is to be able to identify them quickly and stay away.
An aggressive driver who could prove extremely dangerous may:
- Follow too closely to lead vehicles (tailgating).
- Honk excessively and without provocation.
- Turn on hi-beams to try to distract other drivers.
- Swerve in and out of lane with no signaling.
- Flash rude hand gestures or shout obscenities.
- Intentionally engage in distracted driving, such as cellphone use.
If you spot any of these behaviors in a driver, try to distance your vehicle from their own. You can change lanes when safe, slow down slightly to get a few vehicles behind, or even leave that street entirely and find an alternate route. If it is safe to do so, you may also wish to call us at (888) 743-1030 the police, provide a description of the road rage driver and where they were located. You may be able to protect someone else from road rage by doing so. Remember: Never do anything that jeopardizes your own safety and health.
Kansas City Car Accident Lawyers & Defenders of the Injured
Were you struck by a road rage driver in Kansas or Missouri? Do you not know what to do next to seek compensation? Not to worry – DiPasquale Moore and our Kansas City car accident lawyers are here to help.
We have earned an impressive track record of successful case results, either won in verdicts or settlements, for our personal injury and car accident clients. We believe that our client-first focus and extensive experience – our law firm collectively has more than 100 years of legal experience – are key factors in our ability to win for our clients, time and again. Come see what we can do for you after you have been unjustly hurt in a road rage incident by contacting our firm and requesting a free consultation. Our firm has four office locations to best serve you: Kansas City, Topeka, Columbia, and St. Louis.