Determining Intentional Harm or Negligence in a Road Rage Accident?

Road rage refers to aggressive driving used to intimidate or attempt to cause damage to another driver or vehicle as well as the feelings of anger or aggression that accompany those actions. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident that may have been motivated by road rage, contact a car accident lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our personal injury lawyers are familiar with the intentional-acts doctrine and understand the legal challenges in establishing insurance coverage.

In Michigan, the concept of aggressive driving can apply to two statutes: Careless Driving (MCL 257.626b) and Reckless Driving (MCL 257.626).

Careless driving consists of multiple hazardous violations, which include tailgating. The driver doesn’t need to show intent to damage property or injure a person to be charged with careless driving.

Reckless driving is a willful disregard for the safety of individuals or property and is an intent crime. It is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment, a fine or both.

Under the Michigan No-Fault Act (MCL 500.3101), an injured person is allowed to pursue a liability claim against another driver and your auto insurance company must pay benefits. It is also recommended you pursue a Third Party lawsuit against the at-fault driver because you may be entitled to restitution payments if the driver is convicted of criminal charges.

A Third Party lawsuit enables you to sue for various kinds of damage in intentional tort lawsuits. You may be able to recover monetary awards for permanent disability, pain and suffering and lost wages.

Establishing liability in a road rage case

If you were injured during a road rage accident and are looking to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, it is beneficial–but not necessary–to have established a guilty verdict or criminal charges against the defendant. If the other individual involved in the accident has had criminal charges filed against them, it becomes easier to prove liability.

However, even if the other driver was not arrested or charged, you can still file a personal injury suit. When proving liability for these damages, however, you will still have to show that the defendant did intend to hit your vehicle and that they were acting out of rage. You also will need to show conclusively that they caused the accident, perhaps by rear-ending you purposefully or by driving your car off the road.

What damages can be claimed after a road rage accident?

If you are injured in a road rage car accident, you can file for compensation for damages like medical costs. These costs include your initial treatment as well as any additional treatments you may have to undergo because of your injuries sustained in the accident.

You can also file for compensation for lost wages. This can include time taken off work for recovery, visiting the doctor, post-accident treatments, and even time spent in court fighting your case.

The last significant category of damages you can file is for pain and suffering. This includes any emotional or physical pain that you have suffered as a result of your injuries. This could include conditions like post-traumatic stress, depression, or anxiety.

Final thoughts

Cases involving intentionally caused injury have their challenges. Understanding the difference between intentional harm and negligence can be difficult in a road rage accident, so it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney like the experts at Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C.

You can contact our law firm at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) to schedule a free consultation and learn more about getting the compensation and justice you deserve. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we make a recovery.

Tim is a writer and editor who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Maryland and calls Washington, D.C., home after spending most of his adult life in the country’s capital. Although Tim spent most of his post-college years in the restaurant industry, he became interested in writing about legal matters after he recently moved to Colombia.Today, Tim writes professionally about medical malpractice, drug policies, and workplace injuries. Tim is focused on curating his freelancing career and plans to work remotely for as long he can.

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