Can You Sue Someone for Road Rage?

Posted On January 3, 2023 Car Accidents
driver with road rage gesturing angrily at another motorist

A road rage accident is a frightening experience. It’s bad enough when a driver hits you due to carelessness. When motorists try to intimidate you, harass you, or even do you harm and an accident occurs as a result, the outcome can be catastrophic.

The good news is that victims of road rage accidents can often sue the driver for the injuries and damages they sustain. Unfortunately, obtaining compensation for accidents caused by aggressive driving is not always easy.

Call The Flood Law Firm at (860) 346-2695 today for a FREE consultation. Our attorneys handle claims involving road rage accidents throughout Connecticut from offices in Middletown, Waterbury, Danbury, and Bridgeport.

What Is Road Rage?

Road rage is an extreme form of aggressive driving. Although just about everyone gets angry behind the wheel from time to time, road rage drivers tend to (a) get angry very quickly and (b) engage in dangerous behaviors behind the wheel.

Common signs of road rage you might notice among other drivers include:

  • Tailgating
  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Weaving in and out of traffic and abruptly changing lanes
  • Leaning on the horn
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Shouting or cursing at nearby drivers
  • Making crude or threatening gestures at other motorists

Any of these actions can result in a car accident. In the most extreme instances, a road rage driver may try to run another motorist off the road or even attempt to strike another vehicle.

Why Is Road Rage on the Rise?

Road rage has been a public concern for many years. Multiple factors account for the increased number of motorists who “drive angry,” including traffic congestion and high rates of stress in the population as a whole.

Some drivers are able to withstand common stressors when they are on the road. Others, meanwhile, tend to give in to aggressive driving that can manifest as road rage.

The American Psychological Association has identified the following commonalities among road rage drivers:

  • Hostile behavior: Drivers exhibiting road rage may insult drivers in nearby cars, make verbal threats, and even try to intimidate other drivers with their vehicles (such as excessive honking, revving the engine, etc.).
  • Risk-taking: Drivers who are stressed or angry are more likely to drive faster than they should, make aggressive lane changes, follow other vehicles too closely etc.
  • Short fuse, long cooldown: Aggressive drivers are quick to anger and, when they get angry, it takes a long time for them to calm down.
  • Poor impulse control behind the wheel: Road rage drivers tend to exercise poor judgment behind the wheel, up to and including antagonizing other motorists.
  • Revenge-oriented thinking: Drivers who are prone to aggression and road rage tend to be highly sensitive to perceived slights. They may be triggered by issues such as another driver cutting them off, a vehicle moving too slowly for their liking, failure to make a light, and more.

Road rage drivers are twice as likely to get into accidents as other drivers. They also receive more tickets for speeding and other infractions.

Can I Sue the Driver for a Road Rage Accident?

If an aggressive driver causes a car accident, he or she can be held liable for damages. As with any car accident claim, you need to prove that the other driver was at fault for the crash to recover compensation.

Road rage driving typically involves a host of actions that qualify as negligent. Although the driver may not be trying to hit you, an accident may occur as a result of aggressive actions such as exceeding the speed limit, tailgating, veering in and out of traffic, etc. Depending on the circumstances, the road rage driver might face both civil liability for the accident as well as criminal charges.

You will need to present evidence of the at-fault driver’s aggressive or erratic actions to support your claim for damages. This may include:

  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Video footage of the accident (if available)
  • The police report (especially if the police issue a ticket or citation to the other driver)

Personal injury claims are totally separate from any criminal proceedings the driver may face for a road rage accident. Although the road rage driver does not need to be convicted for your civil case to succeed, a criminal conviction may provide further support for your accident claim.

Does Insurance Cover Road Rage Accidents?

According to the Insurance Information Institute:

“It’s important to realize that road rage is listed as an exemption in many auto insurance policies. This is because any damage or liability stemming from aggressive driving isn’t considered an accident but rather as having been caused by risky behavior.”

The driver’s insurer may refuse to cover your damages in a road rage accident if it is determined that the at-fault driver’s actions constitute intentional misconduct. Victims of road rage may find it difficult to recover fair compensation in this scenario, but there are additional options an experienced lawyer can explore.

First, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the driver directly. This option is typically only viable if the driver who caused the crash has sufficient financial resources to pay for your losses (which is not guaranteed).

Next, you may be entitled to compensation through your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. UM/UIM insurance covers losses when the driver who causes an accident either doesn’t have auto insurance or doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover the victim’s costs. If the road rage driver’s insurance policy won’t pay, your insurance may treat the accident as though the at-fault driver is uninsured.

Finally, a car accident lawyer can dispute the insurance company’s refusal to cover the accident. A knowledgeable attorney can review the road rage driver’s insurance policy and pursue all avenues for obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Road Rage Accident? The Flood Law Firm Can Help

Encounters with aggressive drivers are always unpleasant. In extreme circumstances, aggressive driving can turn into road rage that ultimately leads to an accident.

It can be difficult to know what to do after a road rage accident. The Flood Law Firm can investigate thoroughly on your behalf and fight to hold the driver accountable for your injuries and losses.

Contact The Flood Law Firm today for a FREE consultation.

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