What do I do if someone else’s road rage caused my car accident?
Unfortunately, road rage is a common problem today. The NHTSA and the Auto Vantage auto club produced research that found that 66 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. About 37 percent of these encounters involve a firearm, while others may include horn honking, crude gestures, or tailgating. (Tailgating is a frequent cause of accidents.)
It’s important to be very careful in these circumstances, as they can escalate quickly. While a car accident can be serious and leave you badly injured, it’s possible the situation can get worse – in a seven-year period, 218 murders occurred in relation to road rage incidents.
Deescalating Road Rage
It isn’t always possible to avoid being a victim of someone else’s anger on the road, but here are some tactics that can help reduce stress and reduce the risk of these incidents:
- Don’t respond to another person’s aggressive driving. Avoid making eye contact, and resist the urge to yell, honk, or return their unpleasant hand gestures. Focus on your own safe driving instead.
- Do your best to stay clear of the aggressive driver. You can change lanes, slow down, or take the next exit to get away from them.
- However, it’s not a good idea to stop, as this can lead to an in-person confrontation.
- If someone appears to be driving very recklessly, such as speeding or trying to force other vehicles off the road, you can call the non-emergency number for local law enforcement and let them know.
- If the other driver is really committed to their rage and decides to follow you, driving to the nearest police station may deter them.
Dealing With A Road Rage Accident
First, resist the urge to let your own anger take the driver’s seat. Yes, it’s frustrating when another driver’s aggressive, reckless, or illegal actions cause an accident, but responding with your own aggressive or reckless behavior is not going to solve anything. Instead, try to remain calm and focus on the problem at hand. If your car is drivable, pull off the road and park it safely, then call 911 to report the accident. If you’ve been hurt, ask for an ambulance.
At the same time, keep an eye on the vehicle that caused your crash. If at all possible, try to get the license plate number in case the driver takes off. If it’s too late for that, make notes about the car’s description that you can give to the police.
Getting out of the car is not recommended in road rage situations, as it can lead to a one-on-one confrontation with the angry driver. Of course, they may decide to get out and approach your car. Try to stay calm, let them know you’ve contacted the authorities about the crash, and offer to exchange contact and insurance info.
Seek medical attention for any injuries you have, and remember that not all injuries are apparent right away. Sometimes the anger and fear of a road rage accident can cause the body to produce a lot of adrenaline, so you may not notice that something hurts immediately. This is especially common with whiplash and other soft tissue injuries that may happen if you’ve been rear-ended by a tailgater, for example. If you initially thought you were fine, but start to experience pain later, go to a doctor and get checked out.
What About All These Medical Or Car Repair Bills?
Having to deal with costly medical treatment, painful injuries, and car repair bills can be rage-inducing too. If the other driver was at fault, then you should be able to make a claim against their car insurance. In the state of North Carolina, drivers are required to carry $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance and $25,000 in property damage.
However, sometimes getting the other driver’s insurance company to pay your claim can be a challenge. In general, insurance companies have a lot of excuses for not paying claims. If your accident was a result of someone else’s rage and illegal behavior, the insurance company my very well have a clause in their policy about not covering road rage incidents. These are usually avoidable since the other driver chose to drive aggressively, and the insurer may argue that paying for unsafe driving behavior sets a bad precedent. So your claim may be rejected for that reason. It may also be rejected for more general reasons that many claims are denied – such as the other driver claiming you were actually at fault.
If your claim was denied, don’t give up – there may still be options to help you receive compensation for your damages. Call an experienced car accident lawyer right away. In some cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the insurer and convince them that they have a duty to pay your claim. If the claim truly wasn’t covered under the policy, your lawyer may recommend suing the other driver directly to hold them responsible.
Auger & Auger has been working to help car accident victims throughout the Carolinas get the compensation they deserve for more than 26 years. We know what it takes to fight the insurance companies both in and out of court or seek compensation from an aggressive driver who caused your accident. We’ll use all of our resources to ensure you are represented effectively.
Give us a call today at (855) 971-1114 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.