Depending on the details of your accident, with a personal injury lawyer‘s help, you may be able to file a personal injury claim after a road rage incident occurs. When aggressive driving turns into road rage, which then leads to a vehicle accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the responsible driver. Both aggressive driving and road rage is considered an act of negligence.
What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is not always easy to define. We have all gotten mad at another driver for driving too slowly or swerving in front of us without a turn signal, but what exactly constitutes road rage in California? Road rage is not the same as aggressive driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines the two as:
- Aggressive driving: Operating a vehicle in a manner that puts others, people or property, in danger
- Road rage: An extreme version of aggressive driving, which often also includes angry or violent behaviors
In addition to the potential and dangerous risks of road rage, it can also lead to criminal charges in California. If aggressive driving turns into road rage and includes assault, use of a deadly weapon, or battery, the driver could also get criminal charges. This can also lead to license suspension and criminal charges. It could result in punitive damages, paid to the victim, as well.
Examples of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
Aggressive driving can lead to disagreements with other drivers, distracted driving, driver threats, and it can even cause an accident. When one, or both, drivers are focused on the aggressive driver, they become inattentive to the other drivers on the road. They may drive erratically and dangerously, which can lead to an accident. Here are just a few examples of aggressive driving that can lead to an accident:
- Cutting off other drivers
- Running lights or stop signs
- Changing lanes without using a turn signal
- Slowing down to block a driver
- Driving in the middle of two lanes
- Slamming on brakes purposely
These are just a few examples of aggressive driving that can lead to a potentially dangerous outcome. Aggressive driving can quickly escalate to road rage.
Who is Responsible for Compensation in a Road Rage Accident?
The driver who was driving aggressively may be personally liable for damages when a car accident occurs. In a typical car accident in California, you would seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, because acts of road rage are intentional, it is not often covered under most insurance policies. The raging driver’s insurance may drop their coverage, leaving you to seek compensation from them personally through a third-party personal injury lawsuit.
In some cases, you may find that your own insurance provider covers some of your damages, but they do not usually cover the entirety of them, especially when injuries are significant. It can be helpful to work with a California personal injury lawyer to navigate complicated cases, like ones that involve road rage. In addition to filing the claim within the state’s statute of limitations, you will also need to offer enough proof that the driver’s aggressive behaviors were the cause of the incident and your injuries.
What Other Legal Options Are Available for Compensation?
Car accidents can leave you with many unexpected costs, so you might pursue other compensation options. A car accident lawyer will help you consider each of these options:
- Driver’s insurance: The first step is to request compensation through the aggressive driver’s insurance company.
- Your insurance: Your insurance may cover some of your costs. However, it is unlikely that they will cover them entirely.
- Third-party personal injury lawsuit: A third-party personal injury lawsuit seeks compensation from the responsible party personally.
- Criminal charges: Road rage in California is illegal and punishable with criminal charges. Criminal charges could lead to a requirement of punitive damages on your behalf.
- California Victims Compensation Board: The California Victims Compensation Board offers funds to individuals’ who were the victim of a crime, such as road rage.
The costs following an auto accident can be expensive. In addition to the immediate costs of medical care, you may not be able to return to work for a while. Severe injuries can also prevent you from ever returning to the same line of work.
The car accident lawyers at Gibson & Hughes, Attorneys at Law understand this and that is why we will fight for your rights, ensuring that you not only get the compensation that you need to recover, but that you also get it in a timely manner.
How Long Do I Have to File a Road Rage Claim?
California requires injured individuals to file a personal injury claim within two years from the date of the accident. While this might seem like a lot of time, this timeline can come quickly. Pursuing legal action is not often the first thing on your mind following an accident, and you may not even consider it until the medical bills begin coming in. However, it takes time to collect evidence and build your case, as well as consider your other compensation options that are available to you.
We encourage you to think about your options as soon as possible. In order to build the best case on your behalf, we will need to collect certain pieces of evidence. We will gather medical records, witness statements, income reports, and photos or videos from the scene of the accident to determine how the other driver’s road rage causes you hardship and injury.