Road rage is a rapidly growing menace in the United States, especially in Houston TX. Road rage occurs when a driver expresses extreme aggression or anger intending to create or cause physical harm.
Aggressive driving and road rage are two different concepts. According to The National Highway and Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), aggressive driving is “when an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offences so as to endanger other persons or property”. Road rage takes things one step further into a more violent and potentially dangerous territory. From January through April this year, law enforcement agencies reported 107 road rage crashes in Harris County to the Texas Department of Transportation. That’s up 13% from the 95 reported during the same time last year. Injuries are up 26%.
A car accident involving road rage can be a traumatic experience. If you are a victim of a road rage accident, what are your legal options?
Let’s review some statistics on road rage, examine your legal rights, and take a look at how liability is proven in this specific type of personal claim.
LATEST ROAD RAGE FACTS AND STATISTICS.
Road rage is associated with some startling facts and is responsible for some horrifying statistics. Some of these include:-
- A National Highway and Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) study has revealed that running late was one of the leading reasons given for road rage.
- An average of 36 murders occur in the country each year due to road rage.
- The AAA Foundation found that drivers between the ages of 25 to 39 were the most likely to exhibit road rage behavior.
- About 2% of road rage victims admitted to wanting revenge.
- Road rage incidents involving firearms more than doubled between 2014 and 2016.
- Road rage-related accidents are higher on Sundays and Mondays and also during the summer months.
- NHTSA studies have revealed that feeling Anonymity while driving contributes to road rage.
- 4% drivers in the country have admitted that they have gotten out of their cars to confront another driver.
- 3% of drivers in the country have admitted to hitting another car on purpose in a fit of rage.
LEGAL REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO A VICTIM OF A ROAD RAGE ACCIDENT.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident that may have been motivated by road rage, contact a Houston car accident attorney for expert guidance and skillful representation. Drivers who engage in road rage should face legal consequences for their actions. An experienced Houston TX Car Accident Lawyer can help victims of road rage to receive adequate compensation.
Road rage is a crime. Prosecutors bring charges against a road raging driver for specific violations of the motor vehicle code or for using a vehicle as a means for committing a violent crime.
In the prosecution of a road raging driver, prosecutors seek input from the victims. Testimony of a victim can send a driver to the jail. An experienced Road Rage Lawyer in Houston will manage the participation of the victim in the prosecution. A Board Certified attorney will prepare the victim to face a barrage of questions from the defense lawyers who will go to any extent to refute the victim’s true version of the road rage incident.
Our knowledgeable and compassionate road rage attorneys recommend you pursue a third party lawsuit against the at-fault driver because you may be entitled to restitution damages if the driver is convicted of criminal charges. A third party lawsuit enables you to sue for various kinds of damages that can be recovered in an intentional torts lawsuit.
A Houston Board Certified road rage attorney will protect and uphold your legal rights to secure financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. A criminal prosecution and a civil claim for damages against the at-fault driver are two distinct legal actions. It is beneficial if a guilty verdict has been established against the at-fault driver in the criminal case. However, you may have a right to recover damages even if the prosecutors decide not to press criminal charges, or if the road rage driver is acquitted of the crime.
Your claim for damages does not depend on the outcome of the criminal case brought against the at-fault driver by the prosecution.
COMMON BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH ROAD RAGE.
- Shouting profanities, abuse, and insults.
- Hitting, bumping, side swiping or ramming into another vehicle.
- Rude and inflammatory gestures.
- Use of headlights and brakes to intimidate and harass other drivers.
- Forcing another car off the road.
- Brandishing guns or weapons at other drivers.
FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO ROAD RAGE IN HOUSTON.
Numerous factors can trigger a driver’ road rage. The NHTSA lists the following factors that can contribute to road rage:-
Anger and frustration escalate with every minute that a driver spends sitting behind a wheel while moving forward at a snail’s pace or not moving at all in traffic.
FEAR OF BEING LATE.
Most drivers leave late and try to make up for time by speeding or using overtaking maneuvers. Stress of being behind schedule can cause tension, which can boil over into road rage.
LACK OF COMPASSION AND EMPATHY FOR OTHERS.
Drivers have difficultly empathizing with others on the roads. Many believe laws do not apply to them and ignore the consequences of their actions on others.
VEIL OF ANONYMITY.
Being in the confines of a car can make some drivers have scant regard for the well-being of others on the roads. Most individuals tend to care about their loved ones and feel they are not responsible for the safety and well-being of strangers.
PROVING FAULT IN ROAD RAGE-RELATED DRIVING CASES.
Road rage can be a criminal offense as well as a civil offense. While criminal prosecution requires the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof, a civil lawsuit applies to much more lenient “preponderance of evidence” standard. It is far easier to win a civil lawsuit than to win a criminal case.
If you or a loved one has suffered any injuries or damages due to the aggressive actions of a negligent and reckless driver, you will have to prove liability and determine responsibility in order to receive compensation. Road rage is an extreme form of negligence.
Negligence is defined as “Failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person.”
To prove negligence, the plaintiff (the injured party) must establish beyond reasonable doubt the following four main elements:-
- The defendant (the accused party) owed the plaintiff a reasonable duty of care.
All drivers owe a duty of care towards other, drivers, passengers, pedestrians and others on the roadway when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
- The Defendant breached his or her duty of care.
The breach of care by the defendant is the crux of the personal injury law. It is the plaintiff’s burden of proof to convince the judge or jury that there was a breach of care committed by the negligent and careless conduct of the defendant.
- The breach of duty by the Defendant caused the accident.
It is not enough to show that the Defendant was negligent, careless or distracted, it has to be established beyond reasonable doubt that his or her act of aggression was the main cause of the car crash.
- The accident caused compensable damages.
The plaintiff has to establish that he or she suffered damages due to the breach of duty by the Defendant. Damages may include physical injury, pain and injury, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost wages, loss of quality of life and/or property damage.
To build a strong case, it is necessary to investigate the accident, interview witnesses, thoroughly review accident reports, and hire experts for trial. Therefore, it is advisable to seek assistance from an experienced and committed car accident lawyer who is also an expert at valuing and filing your claim. The highly skilled board certified road rage accident attorneys at our firm in Houston know what it takes to establish that the aggressive and reckless driver was at fault for your injuries and losses.
COMPENSATION FOR A VICTIM OF AN ROAD RASH ACCIDENT.
Our Houston Car Accident Attorneys help victims of road rage recover:-
- Past and current medical costs.
- Legal fees.
- Future medical costs.
- Lost wages and business income.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Loss of bodily functions.
NON ECONOMIC DAMAGES.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Courts may award punitive damages under limited circumstances. Your entitlement to punitive damages has to be proved by “clear, convincing, and satisfactory evidence”. You must prove the defendant exhibited “willful and wanton disregard for your safety”.
Car insurance in the United States does not cover road rage. Insurance companies argue that road rage is intentional rather than careless behavior. A victim can suffer adversely because he or she cannot recover full value of a substantial claim if the defendant is penniless.
CONTACT A HOUSTON ROAD RAGE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER.
If you or your loved one has been a victim of a road rage accident anywhere in the country, you deserve to be duly compensated for damages suffered.
All road rage accident cases handled by our firm are taken up on a contingency basis, which means our clients pay nothing unless we win their case or settle it.
Our Houston personal injury Attorneys have represented victims of various types of motor vehicle accidents in Courts all across Texas.
Initial consultations are free. Call a board certified road rage accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.