Road rage incidents can prove scary experiences, and if you fall victim to road rage, you may wonder what rights you have under the law to seek justice. If you suffer an injury due to someone else’s road rage, you may qualify to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
About Road Rage
Everyone at one time or another will experience moments of anger and frustration behind the wheel, but when does that feeling become actual road rage? Road rage doesn’t just involve anger towards others on the road but also includes the actions and behaviors of individuals who take their anger to the next level and act irrationally, aggressively, and/or dangerously toward other motorists, passengers, and bystanders.
Many drivers will experience an incident of road rage at some point out on the road, but not all road rage incidents will end in an accident. Unfortunately, the actions of a driver with road rage greatly increase the risk of injury and death to others traveling near the driver exhibiting road rage on the streets.
Common behaviors of drivers acting with road rage include:
- Blasting the horn, repeated honking;
- Yelling and/or use of profanities;
- Tailgating vehicles or bicyclists;
- Following another motorist;
- Stopping and exiting the vehicle to approach another person or vehicle;
- Ramming into another car;
- Blocking a vehicle or another party’s right of way; and
- Intentionally cutting off another vehicle.
Is Aggressive Driving the Same as Road Rage?
Aggressive drivers, while a threat to other motorists and passengers, don’t necessarily fall under the road rage category. The maneuvers of an aggressive driver can appear similar to a driver with road rage, but the aggressive driver’s intention is not to be threatening or to harm others. A road rage driver is so taken over by anger and emotions that they intend to threaten or harm others. In many instances, an individual with road rage uses the vehicle to assault others or as a weapon to injure others.
The distinction between aggressive drivers and road rage drivers is important when law enforcement becomes involved in a situation. While an aggressive driver can suffer consequences for those actions, the penalties often involve traffic offenses and fines. On the other hand, road rage could give rise to criminal penalties and offenses, depending on the overt actions of the driver in addition to the civil liability of a driver for his or her actions.
Why Does Road Rage Happen?
Road rage is unpredictable and often rooted in perception. It involves how another driver or party perceives the actions of a passing motorist that can cause a reaction of anger or frustration. Oftentimes, the victim of a road rage incident cannot pinpoint what exactly set off the reactions of the angry motorist. Drivers may believe that a driver exhibiting road rage is attempting to get in the way or slow the driver down to incite the driver to retaliate – this is never a good idea as it will only spurn the enraged driver further.
Psychologists studying the phenomena of road rage discover that, oftentimes, the result of road rage includes a combination of internal factors of the driver themselves as well as external factors. Internal factors can include how drivers feel in general on that day, their mood, their ability to control their own emotions, and their propensity for anger and aggression. External factors include events in the environment, such as traffic jams, delays, and weather, generally beyond a driver’s control.
There is no real way to identify the underlying cause of every road rage event, but there are some scenarios in which road rage is more likely to happen. At the end of the day, the same scenario could play out hundreds of times and in many cases, both drivers will continue on their commute even if a bump or two occurs along the way. However, every once in a while, a driver will take offense to the actions of another and lose control of their impulses by acting recklessly and negligently to harm others.
Some triggers for road rage in Las Vegas can include:
- Heavy traffic;
- Slower traffic;
- A motorist that is running late;
- Lane merges;
- Lane changes; and
- Perceived distracted driving.
What Potential Dangers Does Road Rage Pose?
Many road rage incidents involve a few ugly words, a honk, and a threatening driver leaving the scene. However, there are times when things escalate beyond that and become a dangerous and potentially life-threatening scenario. Road rage drivers are many times responsible not only for traffic-related accidents but also for the injuries and deaths of victims of their actions. In more extreme cases, road rage drivers, in addition to using their vehicle as a weapon, may also use a gun or other weapon against victims in a road rage incident.
What Consequences Can Road Rage Have in Las Vegas?
While Nevada laws do not make road rage specifically a criminal offense, a driver’s actions against you can result in various punishments and liabilities. A road rage driver that operates his or her vehicle recklessly or aggressively could receive a ticket for traffic offenses depending on their actions and the result of those actions. If a road rage driver escalates to the point of using a vehicle as a weapon or making physical threats or contact, then law enforcement may charge the driver with criminal actions, such as assault and/or battery.
Beyond the criminal consequences of a road rage incident, if a road rage driver runs you off the road, hits your car, or otherwise causes you to sustain injuries in a motor vehicle accident, that driver can then bear liability to you for your damages and losses under the law.
Common Injuries That Can Occur in a Road Rage Incident
Road rage can turn into a serious and potentially deadly accident in an instant. When a road rage driver intends to cause harm to others, the results in a motor vehicle accident can prove devastating. Angry drivers can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, roll over, or ram into your vehicle at high rates of speed and force. You face the risk of suffering severe or even fatal injuries in a road rage incident.
Serious motor vehicle injuries often require emergency medical assistance and life-saving intervention in catastrophic accidents. If you suffer an injury after an attack by a road rage driver, you will likely need to visit an emergency room for treatment and could face a long recovery from your injuries. Severe injuries can cause permanent disabilities and involve treatment, such as surgery, rehabilitation, and supportive care.
Common injuries in road rage accidents can include:
- Head and neck injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries;
- Back injuries or damage to your spinal cord;
- Broken bones;
- Internal injury; and
Can You Sue if You Suffer Injuries in a Road Rage Incident?
If you fall victim to a road rage driver, you likely qualify to seek compensation for any injuries you sustain as well as damages and losses that arise because of the actions of the other driver. If the driver has insurance, you may qualify to file a claim for your losses through the insurance company. If insurance coverage is unavailable, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the party responsible through court.
To prove fault for a road rage incident, a victim need only prove that the at-fault party acted negligently by committing unsafe driving behaviors. In many instances, the law views road rage as not only negligence but gross negligence. This distinction can not only make it easier to prove fault in an accident case but can play a significant role in the damages you may qualify for through a Nevada court.
What Damages Can You Pursue in a Road Rage Accident?
A road rage accident can cause a lot of damage to you, including injuries to your body and financial losses. You may feel unsure of what qualifies as a loss in an insurance claim or how much compensation you should pursue in your claim. Fortunately, a personal injury attorney with experience in road rage accidents can help you to understand the extent of your financial impact from the accident as well as the monetary compensation that you could seek for your injuries and the effect those injuries have had on you and your life.
Damages after a road rage accident can include:
- Medical expenses – The costs for injury treatment and care after an accident can prove substantial. Victims of severe injuries may face lifelong expenses for their continuous care and support after an injury that results in disability or chronic conditions. You can likely seek damages for your current medical expenses but also those expenses you will accrue throughout your lifetime.
- Income losses – Lost wages are common after an injury accident. You will likely need to miss work as you recover and heal from the painful injuries you sustain in a road rage accident. For those individuals that suffer catastrophic injuries, you may be unable to return to work in any capacity. Your current and future income losses, including income potential, are recoverable through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Pain and suffering – Injuries are painful when they happen and in the aftermath, as you undergo treatment, surgery, and heal. In cases where an injury causes permanent damage, you may continue to live with pain for the remainder of your life. Pain and suffering including emotional and mental distress that occurs because of road rage can be part of a claim for damages in your case.
- Wrongful death – If a family loses a loved one because of a road rage accident, they may be eligible to seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses and the loss of contribution to the family through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
- Punitive damages – Normally, punitive damages are not part of most personal injury lawsuits. However, due to the egregious nature of a road rage incident, you might seek punitive damages if the actions of an individual rise to the level of gross negligence, where you can prove that the other party not only harmed you but did so intentionally or with malice.
What Should You Do If You Are a Victim of Road Rage in Las Vegas?
Road rage constitutes a serious safety concern for everyone in the public and is often unpreventable. It’s just a matter of chance when you cross paths with a road rage driver. Road rage can prove terrifying, and if you fall victim to such a situation it can prove difficult to know what to do and how to react.
Your first priority, if injuries were sustained in an accident caused by road rage, is to get to safety as quickly as possible. Call 911 immediately and follow their instructions. Avoid the confrontational driver by pulling over or allowing them to pass you. Lock your vehicle doors and do not engage in communication or interactions with the other party. An individual that is irate and agitated may lash out physically and attempt to harm you further.
If a road rage driver hits your vehicle or you suffer an injury, contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after the altercation. Insurance claims for cases of road rage can prove complex and difficult. In certain instances, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. You need a road rage attorney on your side that can fight for justice on your behalf and the compensation you need to cover the full cost of your injuries.
If you sustain injuries in a Las Vegas road rage accident, contact a personal injury lawyer for a free case evaluation. Most attorneys will offer free case evaluations, during which you can discuss the details of your accident, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation.