Road rage occurs when a driver exhibits aggressive or angry behavior. This behavior can range from flashing someone an obscene gesture to running other cars off the road. No matter the conduct, road rage is dangerous and can kill.
No driver expects to get into an accident. Whether you’re commuting to work or running errands, you expect to get to your destination safely. Sure, some drivers are worse than others and some may be paying more attention to their phones than to driving. But no driver expects to be attacked while on the road.
That’s what happens when road rage incidents rise to a serious level. If a raging driver has injured you, you have legal options. You need an aggressive New Orleans car accident lawyer to help you hold that person accountable for their actions.
Road Rage Dangers
When road rage happens, it’s usually the result of a driver who is so angry, they lose control over their emotions and better judgment. This not only distracts the angry driver but other drivers who must adjust to the erratic behavior.
More than simply honking and moving on with their lives, road rage drivers need to get even. But what have you done wrong? Probably nothing.
When a driver exhibits road rage, stay away, let them pass, and let them get it out of their system. Too many drivers will try to engage with someone who has lost their mind! Don’t try it it never ends well.
Dangers of engaging with a driver experiencing road rage could include:
- Getting into an accident
- Suffering a physical assault
- Being involved in a police chase
- Causing another accident
Causes of Road Rage
Road rage is surprisingly common. Nearly 80 percent of drivers have expressed some level of aggression while driving. Everyone gets angry at some point behind the wheel. Whether it’s bad traffic, you’re running late for an appointment, or you’ve just had a bad day, however, most of us don’t let that frustration turn into full-blown road rage.
But some drivers do. What follows are some of the most common causes of road rage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Everyone dislikes traffic jams. But some people are adults about it and handle it well. Other people end up honking, yelling, screaming, even getting out of their cars.
How does that do any good? It doesn’t!
Getting angry over being stuck in traffic solves nothing. But too many drivers think they can control the traffic flow and get upset when they’re stuck.
If a driver takes extra time to get where they’re going, they have a buffer if they encounter congestion. When a driver doesn’t do that and realizes they’re running late, it can turn into road rage.
Even though it’s all their fault, they don’t take responsibility for their actions. They get angry at the situation instead of at themselves for leaving too late.
Too many drivers are just plain selfish. They think they’re the only person on the road that matters. It’s rude, inconsiderate thinking, and can be dangerous.
When other drivers don’t recognize you have just as much right to use the road, they can cause hazards. These drivers turn those situations into road rage when you get in their way, even if it was all their fault.
Law and Rule Breaking
Some people think they’re cops. If you speed, they think it’s their job to get in front of you and slow you down.
That often leads to them getting angry that you’re trying to get by them. They try to assert dominance on the road, even though they have zero authority to do so.
What Road Rage Looks Like
Road rage comes in many forms. It’s simply an occasion when a driver allows their emotions to get the best of them. Drivers experiencing road rage act erratically, placing themselves and others at risk of injury and death.
If you stop at a light and another driver rolls down their window yelling and screaming, you may have no idea what’s wrong with this person. Yet, here they are, berating you. This can lead to dangerous situations because you may be fearful, understandably so. You try to get away from them, which can also be dangerous if you need to speed or swerve to get away.
Many road rage incidents become even more dangerous by threatening physical harm. Whether another driver points a gun at you or swerves into your vehicle, these situations can turn deadly. Some drivers carry guns in their cars, escalating situations to dangerous levels. If you think someone wants to hurt you, do not get out of your car. Call the police immediately.
If you have done something to anger another driver, even if what you’ve done is entirely legal, they may start following you very closely. Tailgating is extremely dangerous. If you have to hit your brakes suddenly, the other car may be too close to stop in time, causing them to slam into you. When that happens, the situation could get even worse as the crazy driver may try to blame you for the accident. Stay calm, stay in your vehicle, and call the police.
To determine fault in a road rage car accident, you may need a thorough investigation of your accident and the surrounding circumstances. The best way to do this is to partner with an experienced New Orleans road rage accident lawyer. The right lawyer will have resources they can rely on to help conduct the investigation and make sure you know for certain who caused your accident.
They may even rely on accident reconstruction experts. These experts come in, review the accident evidence, and determine the exact cause. You need to know whom to blame for your accident and injuries.
Once you determine who to blame, you must prove that the driver was negligent.
You do that by showing:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely
- The other driver breached that duty of care by engaging in road rage
- Because of the other driver’s road rage, an accident happened
- Where you suffered injuries
Filing a lawsuit is probably the furthest thing from your mind after you get into a car accident, especially one involving road rage. But speak with a lawyer soon because you may face astronomical medical bills. Getting compensation makes sure that you do not pay a dime out of your pocket for your expenses. The raging driver should pay those bills.
Your lawyer may get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may never return to work, at least not in the same capacity as before your road rage accident. This severely impacts your ability to earn a living and support yourself. Thankfully, you can try to get money from the negligent driver for your lost income.
Many road rage accident victims don’t realize they can get money from a negligent driver for something other than their injuries. But it’s true and you may deserve it. After all, the road rage driver put you in this terrible situation and they should bear the financial burden of you being out of work and needing medical care.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Don’t do it alone!
Insurance companies are only out for one thing profit! They will use every tactic available to hold you at least partially responsible for the accident and use that information to deny your claim. This could result in you having to pay out of pocket for your medical expenses and shoulder the burden of your financial losses. The majority of bankruptcies filed every year are because of extreme medical expenses.
Fortunately, you can avoid becoming a statistic. By partnering with a skilled New Orleans road rage accident attorney, you can have your legal case in good hands. You deserve to have legal representation at your side with experience handling road rage accident cases. You don’t want to be your lawyer’s first!
You also need a legal team strong enough and capable of standing up to the big insurance companies. All they want to do is deny your claim or pay you as little as possible so they keep their massive profits. They don’t care that it hurts you!
Soon after your accident, you may even get a call from the insurance company offering you a settlement. You get excited because you need money to cover your expenses and you just want to put this behind you.
Don’t take the offer without first speaking with a lawyer!
Remember the insurance company is not looking out for your best interests. They’re only looking out for their profits!
When the insurance company calls to offer you a settlement, they may even pressure you by saying the offer is only good today and it’s the best they can do. Besides, if you get a lawyer, that will only cut into the money you take home.
Their first offer is rarely their best offer. They’re making you a quick offer because they want you to sign the settlement agreement before you speak with a lawyer who will tell you that you can get so much more money. If you do sign the settlement agreement, you will waive your right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for this road rage accident. That means that months or years later when you still have bills to pay but the settlement funds have run dry, there’s nothing you can do.
How do you avoid this tragedy?
Partner with a legal team that has your back. Your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company to get you maximum compensation. Your lawyer wants to get you enough money that you don’t have to worry about paying bills or covering any financial losses related to your road rage accident.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.