Road Rage Accidents
Most people have driven too aggressively on occasion or know somebody who drives too aggressively on a regular basis. But what exactly is aggressive driving? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers any operation of a car that endangers or is likely to endanger people or property to be aggressive driving. There are about 6,800,000 accidents in the United States every year and aggressive driving is believed to have caused a large proportion of them. Florida has been at the forefront of road rage accidents for several years.
Aggressive driving includes making an obscene gesture at someone in traffic, cutting off a person with the right of way, racing, failing to signal, speeding up to prevent someone from legitimately passing you, weaving through lanes of traffic, boxing in other cars, and tailgating. It is easy to feel that you are in the right and another driver is in the wrong on today's congested roads. However, aggressive driving, which sometimes escalates into "road rage", can lead to tragic accidents. Road Rage is defined by Florida statute as the act of a driver or passenger intentionally or unintentionally, due to loss of emotional control, injure or kill another driver, passenger or pedestrian or to attempt to threaten to injure or kill another driver, passenger or pedestrian. It is far wiser to drive defensively and to always be on the lookout for the potential risk of crashes.
Recovering Damages After an Aggressive Driving Accident
After an accident with an aggressive driver, it is important not to argue or berate the driver or make any mention of the accident being a result of his or her actions. If it was your own aggressive driving which caused the accident, you may feel a need to apologize. However, neither of those responses is appropriate after a crash. Simply politely exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver and you should get contact information from any witnesses on the scene.
Many times, drivers are worried their insurance premiums increase after an accident and they will try to settle their case in private without informing the insurer. In the case of an aggressive driving accident, particularly with potentially serious injuries, this should not occur. If later on, the accident victim's injuries prove to be more severe than originally believed, or, the driver does not pay for the damages, failure to call the police and get an accident report or failure to gather evidence from the scene can result in the plaintiff losing the what would have been, strong case.
When you contact the police after an accident involving another driver's aggressive driving, you should contact the police that a report can be taken and you will have an opportunity to note on the record the other driver's negligent or reckless behavior. The police may cite the other driver. This citation can also be helpful should you need to bring a civil suit. If an aggressive driver is a hit and run driver, you should try to write down or photograph his or her license plate number. You should also try to get a statement and contact information from any on-scene witnesses.
An injured plaintiff’s lawsuit against an aggressive driver will have to prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. Aggressive driving is likely to be perceived as a breach of the duty to use reasonable care to avoid foreseeable accidents.
How can a plaintiff prove aggressive driving? Defense attorneys will try to discredit a plaintiff's credibility. Therefore it is important to gather contact information from any other witnesses who may be able to back up the plaintiff’s statements, and why it is very important to contact the police, and not try to settle without involving the insurance company. Having good witness information will help your attorney prove aggressive driving by presenting witness testimony or a police report to the jury.
Getting help with an aggressive driving accident
If you or a family member have been injured in an accident involving road rage or aggressive driving, you need to contact an attorney experienced in making a strong case on your behalf. Call Brad Stackhouse at Stackhouse Law to have a consultation about your case.