Road Rage Accidents
Many people become frustrated while driving. However, in some cases, the frustration turns into road rage and the desire to get revenge or retaliate against another driver. Violent drivers may run red lights, tailgate, weave through traffic, or make obscene gestures. Using a car to intimidate others can result in serious injuries. At Feizy Law Office, our Dallas lawyers can help car accident victims pursue damages if they have been harmed because of someone else’s road rage.Take Legal Action through a Negligence Claim
Road rage accidents can lead to both criminal and civil liability. However, criminal cases have a higher standard of proof and may not result in the victim recovering compensation. Even if the defendant's criminal charges are dismissed, it may be possible for an accident victim to succeed in a civil case based on theories of negligence and assault.
To prove negligence, a Texas plaintiff will need to prove four elements by a preponderance of the evidence. These are the defendant's duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. All drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care to refrain from creating a risk of injury for others on the road. Trying to retaliate against another driver is a breach of that duty. Actions motivated by road rage—such as weaving, failing to follow traffic laws, or harassing other drivers—often cause an accident.
If a driver consumed by road rage breaks traffic laws, the doctrine of negligence per se may apply. Under this doctrine, a plaintiff can potentially recover compensation if the defendant violated a safety statute that was designed to protect people similar to the victim and guard against the type of risk encountered by the victim. The violation also must have directly resulted in the accident and the victim’s injuries.
In most cases, compensatory damages following a car crash will include medical bills, lost income, lost earning capacity, out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages may also be available in some particularly egregious cases, such as when the defendant was drunk while driving.
Another potential theory of recovery is based on assault. This arises when there is an infliction of bodily harm by making physical contact with the victim, an infliction of offensive physical contact, or a threat of imminent bodily injury. Road rage can result in the first type of assault. A victim will have to show that the defendant contacted the victim’s body, the bodily injury that resulted was foreseeable, the defendant acted recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally, and the victim incurred actual damages.
For example, if a defendant experiences road rage at someone who cuts him off and chases that person and rams him, the defendant may have committed assault. In that case, punitive damages may be available in addition to compensatory damages.Explore Your Options with a Dallas Lawyer after a Motor Vehicle Collision
If you have been injured by a driver trying to retaliate against you in the Dallas area, you can consult the experienced motor vehicle collision attorneys at Feizy Law Office to find out whether you may have a case. Call us at (214) 651-8686 or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent accident victims in Irving, Garland, Arlington, Fort Worth, and Plano, among other Texas cities.