Does Proving Road Rage Also Prove Negligence on the Part of the Driver?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on May 13, 2021 in Car Accidents
Updated on April 24, 2024

young driver hands laying on car hornMany people may believe that aggressive driving and road rage are one and the same. Road rage, however, is an extreme form of aggressive driving that can lead to serious car crashes, life-altering injuries and other types of bodily harm

Learn more about road rage and how once proven as the reason for a crash, it may help to prove the offending driver’s negligence.

At PKSD, our experienced car accident lawyers in Milwaukee have extensive experience handling all types of car crash cases, including those caused by acts of road rage or aggressive driving.

Experienced Lawyers. Free Case Review. 414-333-3333

Is it Road Rage or Aggressive Driving?

Many people may think of road rage and aggressive driving as interchangeable terms for the same behavior. While aggressive driving may lead to road rage, they are different, both in the actions of the offender and the type of violation committed.

Aggressive Driving is a Traffic Violation

People who drive aggressively often are dealing with underlying stressors in their personal life. For example, they may be having a bad day or are running late to an important appointment. Others may simply have no regard for other people. Whatever the reason, aggressive drivers often engage in these types of behaviors:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Following other vehicles too closely
  • Dodging in and out of traffic lanes without signaling
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Blocking vehicles that try to pass or change lanes
  • Angry horn honking at other drivers
  • Flashing headlights to get other drivers to move

Any of these aggressive driving behaviors are a traffic violation and can result in the offender being issued a ticket, fines and points on their license. Aggressive driving behavior can also quickly escalate to a situation that is out of control or even criminally violent.

People who drive aggressively are not only more susceptible to committing acts of road rage, but they may also incite others to road rage as well.

Road Rage Can Lead to a Criminal Offense

Road rage can be defined as a driver who knowingly commits a moving traffic offense with the goal of:

  • Endangering another person or persons – or causing them to be fearful of harm to their person or property
  • Assaulting the person of one motor vehicle by another person with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon

Common road rage behaviors may include:

  • Shouting verbal insults
  • Flashing obscene gestures
  • Keeping high beams on at night, despite seeing oncoming vehicles
  • Aggressively cutting in front of drivers and slamming on the brakes
  • Laying on the horn
  • Purposely crashing into another vehicle to run them off the road
  • Physically confronting and assaulting another driver
  • Using weapons to assault or kill another driver

When aggressive behavior leads to either a threat of violence or an actual physical assault, it becomes more than a traffic ticket. It is a criminal offense.

How Proving a Crash Due to Road Rage May Prove Negligence

Victims of a road rage car crash may have legal options for recovering compensation for sustained damages. However, the burden for proving negligence, as for any car crash claim falls on that injured party – the plaintiff.

The defendant in a road rage collision may be issued a ticket for a traffic violation or charged with a criminal offense. Both outcomes provide strong evidence that will help to support a claim for compensation. If the at-fault party is charged with a criminal offense, you are still within your rights to pursue a civil claim for the emotional, physical and financial damages that you suffered.

In more extreme cases, a judge or jury may assess punitive damages if a defendant’s actions are deemed as grossly negligent or particularly egregious in nature. Punitive damages are not intended to reimburse the victim. Rather, they are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter this type of behavior going forward.

Call the Police – Protect Yourself

While you may not always be able to deescalate an angry or aggressive driver, you can take steps to protect yourself. Call the police immediately, both to make sure there is a report of the incident and to get help on the scene as quickly as possible.

Under no circumstances should you get out of the car or engage with the at-fault party. Remain calm and wait for help to arrive. Make sure your windows are up and your doors locked.  If you do not feel safe and your car can be moved, drive it to a safer, more public place.

Call Our Respected Law Firm for Legal Help

Angry, aggressive drivers put others at risk for serious harm. If you were injured in an act of road rage, we are prepared to help.

At PKSD, our team of legal professionals has extensive experience. We are committed to seeing that the at-fault party is held accountable for the actions that led to your injuries and other losses.

Request your free legal consultation to get started. There are no upfront costs or attorney fees if we represent you – or while we work on your case. We do not collect payment for our services unless you are compensated.

Experienced lawyers on your side. 414-333-3333

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