Road rage is a serious issue that can lead to devastating accidents and injuries. It’s not just about angry drivers honking their horns or shouting obscenities. Road rage can escalate to dangerous driving behaviors that put everyone on the road at risk. But what happens when you’re the victim of such an incident? Can you sue for road rage injuries arising out of a road rage incident? Let’s delve into this topic.
Defining Road Rage
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), road rage is defined as when a driver “commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle.” This definition clearly distinguishes road rage from aggressive driving, with the former being a criminal charge and the latter a traffic offense.
What is a Road Rage Accident?
A road rage accident is a traffic incident that occurs due to aggressive behaviors exhibited by a driver. This could involve tailgating, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, or even physical altercations. These actions can lead to serious accidents causing injuries or even fatalities. This article covers what you should know if you are wondering if you can sue for road rage injuries.
Common Characteristics of Enraged Drivers
Enraged drivers often exhibit behaviors such as excessive honking, tailgating, making rude gestures, or verbal abuse. They may also engage in dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, running red lights, or cutting off other drivers. These actions not only put themselves at risk but also endanger other road users.
How Common is Road Rage?
Road rage is unfortunately a common occurrence on our roads. According to the NHTSA, 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, and males under the age of 19 are the most likely to exhibit road rage.
Injuries in Road Rage Accidents
Road rage accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to serious conditions like broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. In the worst cases, road rage incidents can lead to fatalities.
Recent Examples of Road Rage Injuries and Accidents in Texas News
Woman fatally shot after husband flipped off driver in road-rage event: In July 2023, a woman named Paola Núñez Linares was fatally shot in a road rage incident in Texas after her husband flipped off another driver.
Threat of road rage lingers in North Texas after recent shootings: At least three people have died in suspected road rage shootings across North Texas since March 2023.
Woman fatally shot in an apparent road-rage incident in Texas: A woman was fatally shot in the head on a Fort Worth, Texas, area road in a reported road rage incident in July 2023.
Texas has more fatal road rage shootings than any other state: According to a report by Jerry, the car insurance savings app, Texas ranks first in the nation for road rage shootings. The number of road rage shootings has doubled in recent years.
How Do You Prove Road Rage?
Proving road rage can be challenging, as it often comes down to one driver’s word against another’s. Evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and any available video footage can be crucial in proving road rage.
Establishing Negligence for a Road Rage Accident
To sue for injuries arising out of a road rage incident, you must be able to establish that the other driver was negligent. This involves proving that the driver owed you a duty of care, breached that duty by engaging in road rage, and that this breach caused your injuries.
Establishing Damages for a Road Rage Accident
If you’ve been injured in a road rage incident, you may be entitled to damages. These can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. It’s important to keep detailed records of all costs related to your injuries to support your claim.
What to Do After a Road Rage Accident
Prioritize Your Safety
If you’re involved in a road rage incident in Texas, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety above all else. Engaging with an enraged driver can escalate the situation and put you at further risk. Instead, if it’s safe to do so, remove yourself from the immediate vicinity of the aggressive driver.
In Texas, police often don’t respond to accidents that only involve property damage. However, road rage incidents can involve more serious offenses such as aggravated assault. Therefore, it’s important to specifically mention to the police that this was a road rage incident. This can prompt a more thorough investigation and ensure that any related crimes are properly addressed.
When reporting the incident, provide as much detail as possible, including the other driver’s license plate number, vehicle description, and a recounting of their actions. This information can be crucial for any subsequent legal or insurance proceedings.
Document What Happened
If it’s safe to do so, documenting the incident can provide valuable evidence. This can include taking photos or videos of the scene, the other vehicle, and the driver. However, it’s important to do this discreetly and from a safe distance to avoid provoking the other driver.
Remember, your safety is paramount. It’s better to have less evidence but be safe, than to put yourself in danger for the sake of documentation. After ensuring your safety and reporting the incident, seek medical attention immediately, even if you think your injuries are minor. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent and can worsen if left untreated.
Call Our Firm
Finally, consider reaching out to one of our legal professionals. Road rage incidents can lead to complex legal situations, and having an experienced attorney on your side can help ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Is Road Rage Covered by Insurance?
Whether road rage is covered by insurance can depend on the specifics of your policy and the incident. Some insurance companies may classify road rage as an intentional act, which could exclude it from coverage. It’s important to review your policy and consult with an insurance professional to understand your coverage.
Intentional Torts vs. Negligence in Road Rage Incidents
In the context of road rage incidents, it’s important to understand the difference between intentional torts and negligence. A tort is a wrongful act that leads to civil legal liability. Intentional torts involve actions that the perpetrator carried out deliberately, while negligence involves harm that arises from carelessness or failure to act reasonably.
Road rage incidents often involve intentional torts such as assault or battery. For example, if a driver intentionally hits another car or gets out of their vehicle to physically confront another driver, these actions could be considered intentional torts.
On the other hand, negligence might be involved in a road rage incident if a driver, in a fit of anger, fails to drive responsibly and causes an accident as a result. This could involve actions like tailgating, speeding, or weaving through traffic without regard for the safety of others.
Can You Sue for Road Rage?
Insurance companies often have policies that exclude coverage for intentional acts. The rationale is that insurance is designed to cover accidents and unforeseen events, not deliberate actions intended to cause harm. Therefore, if a road rage incident is classified as an intentional tort, the at-fault driver’s insurance may not cover the damages.
However, this does not mean the victim has no recourse. The at-fault driver can still be sued personally for their actions. In a successful lawsuit, the driver would be responsible for paying any awarded damages out of pocket. This is why legal assistance is crucial in such cases. An experienced attorney can help navigate these complexities and work to hold the at-fault party accountable.
How Varghese Summersett Can Help
Road rage incidents can lead to serious injuries and complex legal cases. If you’re a victim of such an incident, it’s important to understand your rights and the legal options available to you. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this challenging situation alone. The team at Varghese Summersett is here to help. At Varghese Summersett, our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of road rage cases. We can help you navigate the legal process, deal with insurance companies, and fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you’ve been injured in a road rage incident, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (817) 207-4878 or online.