| Read Time: 7 minutes | Personal Injury

More and more areas of Phoenix have seen a rise in their driving population, and traveling on the road is not always enjoyable. The experience could lead to high levels of stress. Aggressive driving has become an issue in many places, leading to more frequent and serious auto accidents.

In several cases, motorists exhibit signs of road rage. Road rage may result in unsafe behaviors, and a person could collide with someone else. Every year, thousands of people experience non-fatal and fatal injuries.

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What Is Considered Road Rage?

Not everyone feels content behind the wheel, and annoyances are common occurrences. However, road rage occurs when someone displays increased aggressive or angry conduct. In many cases, the individual aims their anger toward another driver or pedestrian. Road rage can cause retaliation if the person feels someone else wronged them.

The laws of some places may consider an action to be road rage if the individual uses their vehicle with the intent to harass. Intimidation toward someone and obstruction of another driver go under the category.

Most instances of road rage involve rude gestures, yelling, and excessive honking. Increased aggression may result in dangerous behaviors as well. Several people go above the speed limit and weave through lanes of cars. Others tailgate or confront drivers outside of their vehicles.

The hazardous actions raise the potential of motor vehicle crashes. About 66 percent of annual fatal traffic accidents involve road rage. Aggressive motorists are more likely to do risky driving behaviors and cause a collision. Accidents due to negligent conduct create bodily harm and other damages.

What Leads to Road Rage?

Road rage can happen to anyone and at any time of the day. Many feel irritated when they are in a car for extended periods, but certain conditions can lead to road rage.

Common causes of aggressive driving are:

  • Impatience. A person could have to be somewhere at a specific time. They might have left the house late and are in a rush. As a result, they tend to speed and quickly change lanes. They are more likely to become irritated if other drivers move slower than them.
  • Increased traffic. No one likes to navigate heavy traffic, especially if they need to get somewhere soon. The frustration may cause someone to be more prone to rage from minor inconveniences. An angry driver is more likely to yell and cut others off.
  • Use of alcohol. Excessive drinking can lead to impulsive behavior, lowered inhibitions, and mood changes. A person cannot control their emotions while under the influence. Inconveniences on the road can lead to irritability.
  • Another driver’s careless behavior. The actions of other motorists can frustrate a driver. If a person swerves due to a distraction, another individual could feel frightened. The fear can turn into anger toward the irresponsible motorist.

People react to outside forces in different ways. Nevertheless, drivers need to ensure they keep others safe. They could be responsible if they allow their road rage to cause a collision.

Areas Where Road Rage Occurs

Since tension contributes to road rage, high-stress areas frequently see motor vehicle incidents. Common locations include highways and interstates. Semi-trucks, cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles regularly travel on interstates. Congestion and a speeding motorist along the freeway could increase irritation in an angry driver.

A road rage collision is likely to take place around a construction zone. Construction zones mean cars have to slow down, and cones may block one or more lanes. Congestion can worsen when people need to travel to or from work. Impatience may result in risky driving behaviors.

A few areas do not experience as much regulation as other areas. For example, police officers might not patrol specific locations regularly. As a result, an aggressive driver could gain confidence in exhibiting road rage since authorities may not catch them.

Nevertheless, road rage happens anywhere. Some cases lead to collisions, and others do not. Victims of road rage accidents have the law on their side.

Can You Sue Someone for Road Rage?

Many states have laws regarding road rage, and a driver may face punishment for their behavior. If an accident happens, the injured party could have the right to sue the driver. Reckless driving is a form of negligence, and carelessness means the victim can obtain compensation.

You Need to Prove Negligence

While you have the right to file a claim against the responsible driver, you must establish liability first. Like other car accident cases, you need to show the four elements of negligence. If successful, you can begin to negotiate a settlement.

The first element is to prove the other motorist owed you a duty of care. When someone is behind the wheel, they must not injure drivers and pedestrians. They need to follow the traffic laws of where they live.

The next step is to show how the liable party neglected their duty of care. The person could have driven closely behind or unsafely changed lanes in front of you. Evidence like traffic cameras can depict how the motorist allowed road rage to breach their duty of care.

After proving the defendant exhibited reckless conduct, you would have to link their actions to the accident. Even if someone sped down the street, another entity could be responsible for the crash.

Lastly, you need to prove the accident caused damages. The other side might argue your injuries are because of a pre-existing condition. They could have a defense team, so you should find a lawyer to help you prove negligence.

What You Need to Prove Road Rage?

Evidence is crucial for any road rage lawsuit, especially if the defendant attempts to avoid liability. What the plaintiff needs is a witness statement. Another party may have observed how the accident occurred. Witnesses include passengers, pedestrians, and nearby drivers.

A victim should get a hold of any potential witnesses soon after the accident. An early statement means the event is still in a person’s mind. If you could not get the names of observers, a police report may contain their contact information.

Your lawyer may call upon an expert witness to provide testimony. Expert witnesses lend their expertise to add credibility to your claim. A healthcare worker gives insight on how long recovery may take. A forensic specialist can offer an opinion on whether a substance like alcohol was a factor in the road rage-related incident.

Video footage shows how the other driver behaved right before the accident. Visual evidence proves the claims of tailgating or the driver running someone off the road. Some people do not have a dash cam to record the event. A nearby traffic camera may be available.

Passengers Can Sue the Driver

You may have been a passenger instead of a driver when the accident occurred. You experienced harm from another’s road rage, and you have had to suffer financially. Even though you were not the driver, you still have a right to compensation as a victim of negligence.

Passengers could sue the other driver if they prove the person had behaved recklessly. You can still file a claim if the liable party was the person transporting you. Additionally, you can sue both drivers if the investigation found both motorists were at fault for the incident.

However, your ability to file a complaint may depend on whether you live in a no-fault state. You can ask questions during a consultation with an attorney to know how to proceed with reimbursement.

Which Insurance Pays if the Driver Rideshares?

The person with road rage might have been a rideshare driver. Regardless if you are a passenger, another motorist, or a pedestrian, you can claim damages. The liable driver may have their own insurance policy, but rideshare companies offer coverage for workers.

A victim would collect money from the business’s insurance policy if the motorist was on the clock. However, the coverage caps if the person is in between fares. The limit increases if the rideshare driver carries a passenger at the time of the accident.

If the negligent party was off the clock, you would need to make a complaint against the driver’s own insurer. Some states require vehicle owners to purchase minimal personal liability coverage.

The rideshare company may use excuses to avoid having its insurance pay for damages. The business could claim the driver did not log into the app before the crash. An investigation from an attorney may prove otherwise. They can help you if any complicated matters arise during the case.

Can You Claim Damages for Mental Suffering?

Road rage-related accidents can leave victims with severe physical injuries. In addition to bodily harm, a person can suffer from multiple mental and emotional consequences. People have reported their experiences with mental anguish and a loss of enjoyment of life. Studies have shown an estimated 39.2 percent of car collision victims develop PTSD.

The emotional effects of a car crash are less visible to a jury than a broken bone or laceration. Nevertheless, emotional distress can affect a victim’s routine. In court, a person can recover losses like pain and suffering as part of their non-economic damages.

In many cases, the plaintiff needs to prove pain and suffering have affected their daily life. Strong evidence may need to show how emotional damage lowered productivity at work. Pay stubs can exhibit missed days from work due to mental treatment.

The plaintiff may use testimonies from witnesses who have seen the severity of non-economic damages. You could have a mental health doctor evaluate you and provide their opinion to back up your claim. Some people develop physical symptoms, and a doctor can provide evidence.

A road rage lawyer can help you prove the non-economic damages you plan to claim. They can calculate how much each one is worth in a settlement.

How Lawyers Help With Road Rage Claims?

The process of filing a claim and proving negligence can become complicated. The injured party would have to balance legal responsibilities with their personal lives. A road rage accident attorney eases some of the burdens of your case.

Other benefits of a lawyer include:

  • No missed deadlines. Like other accident cases, road rage crash claims must abide by the statute of limitations. While a couple of exceptions may apply, the judge dismisses cases if the deadline has passed. Lawyers fill out and send the paperwork on time to avoid the issue.
  • Discuss payment with insurers. Unless the liable driver has no coverage, the insurance company is the one to pay compensation. Attorneys negotiate settlement deals to get clients fair compensation and avoid a trial.
  • Thorough investigations. Road rage attorneys know what to look for to build a strong case. They understand what pieces of evidence are admissible in court. A detailed investigation can take time, so hire a lawyer early in your case.

You can improve your chances of recovering reimbursement with the services of a firm. Free consultations allow you to discover which lawyer can assist you the most.

Reasons to Get Early Medical Treatment

If you sustain injuries from a road rage accident, you need immediate medical assistance. Even if you do not notice any bodily harm, a visit to the doctor is necessary.

A few reasons to go to the hospital as soon as possible are:

  • Prevent injuries from worsening. Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and other injuries could lead to more issues without treatment. Early treatment could mean a quicker recovery. The doctor might discover other problems you might not have seen as well.
  • Access to medical records. Medical documents show how serious the car collision was to your wellbeing. The records become necessary regarding compensation claims. You can use the paperwork to link the defendant’s actions to your losses.
  • Insurers could fight back. Insurance companies do not want to pay a lot of money for damages. If an individual delays treatment, the at-fault driver’s insurer might argue their injuries are not severe. The injured party should not say they feel fine and go to a doctor instead.

When you talk to a healthcare worker, you and them decide on a treatment plan. While you work on your recovery, schedule a consultation with a firm. You can work with a lawyer to get back the money you spent on medical expenses because of road rage.

Author Photo

Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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