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Can I File a Damages Lawsuit For A Road Rage Accident?

Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on May 29, 2020 in Car Accidents

angry male driverRoad rage is on the rise across the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, as much as 33 percent of car accidents are the result of aggressive driving behaviors and road rage. Additionally. a report by the Auto Insurance Center rated Indiana as the worst state for road rage incidents.

If you are injured in a road rage collision, you may be able to pursue compensation for injuries and other damages. We strongly recommend that you contact one of our attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak for legal assistance to arrange for your completely free, no-obligation consultation. We can determine whether your claim is valid and provide legal guidance from day one.

What is Road Rage?

The NHTSA defines road rage as any kind of aggressive behavior or moving traffic violation that “endangers other persons or property.” Examples of aggressive driving behavior that can lead to a road rage accident include:

  • Tailgating another vehicle too closely
  • Purposely using one’s car to bump into another vehicle
  • Driving at excessive speeds
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Making angry, offensive gestures at others
  • Yelling obscenities or offensive comments at others while on the road
  • Deliberately confronting others in a threatening manner
  • Getting out of the car and physically assaulting another individual 

What May Impact the Number of Road Rage Incidents Today?

When motorists are stressed, get irritated by another driver, or are running late to get to their destination, they may resort to uncharacteristic behavior, and this can very quickly escalate to aggressive actions. Amid ongoing uncertainty due to the pandemic, rising unemployment, and heated protests around the country, the number of road rage incidents may continue to increase over the coming weeks and months.

Recommended Tips For Handling Road Rage

It is important to know what steps you can take if you find yourself in a dangerous situation with an aggressive motorist. Here are a few tips that may help to diffuse a situation before it gets out-of-hand:

  • Do not, under any circumstances make eye contact with an angry or aggressive driver. Yield to that motorist and give them plenty of room. This is not the time to make a point.
  • Control your own behavior and do not give into the temptation to yell, make an obscene gesture or resort to adding fuel to the fire by driving aggressively yourself. No one wins in this situation.
  • If you feel yourself beginning to get angry, force yourself to breathe and refocus on driving and maintaining calm control over your vehicle. Put distance between yourself and the other driver.
  • Do not give in to the urge to retaliate. In this type of situation, you not only put yourself at risk, but also other vehicles on the road around you.
  • If the other driver begins to purposely harass you, call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not pull over or get out of your car. Again, attempt to give the other driver distance.

Pursuing an Indiana Road Rage Car Crash Claim

In Indiana, if you are involved in a car crash caused by a road rage incident, as defined by Indiana code title 34, section 51-2-5, you should take the same initial steps you would normally take after a car crash to pursue an injury claim against the at-fault party. However, do not get out of your vehicle or engage with the other driver. Call 9-1-1 for assistance, and get the license plate and general car information (make, model, color) in case the other party drives away. If you can establish the accident occurred because of aggressive behavior, you may be eligible to recover certain damages for your injuries and other losses.

Other considerations that may apply:

The Driver Left the Scene or is Uninsured

In a road rage crash, a driver may often leave the scene to avoid any confrontation or trouble with the police. However, if you are able to get the aforementioned car information, the police may be able to locate him or her later. If the driver cannot be identified or is uninsured, you can pursue a claim for damages through the uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) portion of your own insurance policy, if you purchased this coverage. 

Indiana’s Modified Comparative Fault

  • If you contributed to the crash in some way and are assigned a portion of fault, such as if you attempted to retaliate against the other driver, any compensation awarded will be reduced by your own percentage of liability.
  • If you are deemed to be 51 percent or more at fault, you will not be able to pursue a claim for damages.

Contact an Attorney For Legal Assistance

If you are involved in a car accident caused by aggressive behavior, we do not recommend that you attempt to handle a personal injury claim on your own. Having one of our knowledgeable South Bend car accident attorneys on your side to protect your interests, fully manage your case, and speak with all parties on your behalf, including your insurance company, can give you peace of mind, knowing that your legal rights, as well as your injury claim, will be protected.

At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we take new car crash cases on contingency, which means there is nothing to pay for our services while we represent you. In short, we do not get paid unless you do.

Call our firm for legal help today: (844) 678-1800