Road rage and car accidents are all part of a daily commute in Miami. Road rage occurs when a driver expresses extreme aggression or anger intending to 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.
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.
- Florida is the top-ranking state for road rage with firearms for the period 2014 to 2016.
- Road rage-related accidents are higher on Sundays and Mondays and also during the summer months.
- NHTSA studies revealed that feeling Anonymity while driving contributes to road rage.
- 4% of 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 IN MIAMI.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident that may have been motivated by road rage, contact a Miami car accident attorney for expert guidance and skilful representation. Drivers who engage in road rage should face legal consequences for their actions. An experienced Miami Car Accident Lawyer can help victims of road rage 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 violent driver, prosecutors seek input from the victims. Testimony of a victim can send a driver to jail.
If you were injured as a result of a road rage incident, our knowledgeable and compassionate road rage attorneys will represent you in a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. A lawsuit enables you to sue for various kinds of damages that can be recovered in a lawsuit. Here is where things can get a little tricky. Insurance companies will pay for negligent acts, for example, an accident caused because a driver ran a stop sign. Alternatively, most policies have exclusions for injuries caused by intentional acts. Thus, before filing a lawsuit, it is critical to read and review the at fault driver’s insurance policy to insure that the allegations are properly plead in the complaint.
A Miami 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.
Numerous factors can trigger a driver’ road rage. The NHTSA lists the following factors that can contribute to road rage:-
- TRAFFIC CONGESTION.
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.
LACK OF LEGISLATIVE DETERMINATION TO CRIMINALIZE ROAD RAGE.
Most States have yet to address road rage by enacting necessary legislation.
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 a much more lenient “preponderance of evidence” standard. It is far easier to win a civil lawsuit than to win a criminal case. As noted above, in a civil case, you need to prove the at fault driver was negligent., and that the negligence was the proximate cause of the injuries sustained.
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 neglgence was the 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 suffering, 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 your claim. The highly-skilled road rage accident attorneys at our firm 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 A MIAMI ROAD RAGE ACCIDENT.
Our Miami Car Accident Attorneys help victims of road rage recover:-
- Past and future medical costs.
- Past and future Lost wages and business income.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
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 proven by “clear, convincing, and satisfactory evidence”. You must prove the defendant exhibited “wilful and wanton disregard for your safety”.
In some states, there is a cap on award of punitive damages and in some states there isn’t .
CONTACT A MIAMI 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 on a contingency basis, which means our clients pay nothing unless we win their case.
Initial consultations are free. Call an experienced road rage accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.