Road rage occurs when a motorist’s emotions contribute to dangerous behaviors. These behaviors include tailgating, honking excessively, or striking another vehicle. In some cases, an enraged motorist will exit the vehicle and engage in acts of physical violence towards another person or vehicle.

Being enraged while driving is human; there is no excuse for causing harm to others because you are angry. If a motorist injured you or a loved one during a road rage incident, a car accident attorney will seek fair compensation for medical costs and other damages.


Specific Acts That Qualify as Road Rage

Road rage can be any harmful act by a motorist (inside or outside their vehicle) motivated by anger. Examples of road rage include:

  • Driving one’s vehicle into another vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian
  • Tailgating another motorist
  • Speeding to catch up to another motorist
  • Changing lanes dangerously to cut someone else off
  • Passing illegally
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Getting out of one’s vehicle in traffic
  • Striking another motorist or vehicle with one’s hand or a weapon

Angry motorists can be irrational motorists. If someone engages in any dangerous act while angry, and an accident results from it, the enraged motorist can be liable for their victims’ damages.

What Can Trigger Road Rage?

What Can Trigger Road Rage?

In the legal context, the trigger for one’s road rage is not especially relevant. Regardless of why someone acts recklessly, they are financially liable for the harm they cause. However, knowing the reason for a motorist’s road rage may be illuminating, and motorists can become enraged by:

  • Their own life circumstances
  • The perception that another motorist cut them off
  • Traffic
  • Motorists driving slowly in front of them (or slower than they like)
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists being on or near the roadway
  • Another motorist tailgating

There are endless reasons for motorists to become angry. However, it is every motorist’s duty to control their emotions and drive safely at all times.

Are Specific Groups More Likely to Engage in Road Rage

Psychologists suggest that some groups may be more prone to road rage than others. However, rage is a common human emotion, and anyone can succumb to road rage if:

  • They struggle with anger issues in their daily life
  • They become particularly anxious or unsettled while driving
  • They begin driving in an unstable or angry emotional state
  • The actions of another motorist make them angry, and they are unable to control their anger

Though it is always difficult to generalize, a motorist may be particularly prone to road rage if they are:

  • A young male: Studies suggest that young males are the most common road rage offenders. This group’s biological and psychological makeup makes them more prone to engage in aggressive, emotion-based behaviors that can qualify as road rage.
  • Intoxicated by alcohol: Alcohol use, and particularly alcohol abuse, is associated with “serious” road rage behaviors. Intoxication may make an otherwise calm person act uncharacteristically angry or may exacerbate rage in someone with underlying anger issues.
  • Under the influence of one or more drugs: Whether prescribed or illicit, drugs can alter a motorist’s behavior. The effects of some drugs may make one more prone to anger, impulsivity, or other emotions that contribute to road rage.
  • Diagnosed with an anger-related disorder: Those who have a history of angry outbursts may be at high risk of road rage. This is especially true if the party has not developed coping mechanisms to calm themselves when anger arises.
  • Sleep-deprived: Those who drive on little sleep may be more prone to irritability and irrational behavior.

The truth is, nobody is immune from experiencing road rage. However, even someone who triggers road rage does not deserve to suffer injuries or lose their life. A motorist’s road rage can worsen a bad situation and cause serious and completely preventable harm.

A Motorist Is Financially Responsible When Their Road Rage Causes an Accident

When motorists lose control of their emotions and engage in dangerous behavior, they are financially liable for any injuries or deaths they cause. You and your lawyer may pursue compensation for a road rage accident by:

  • Filing a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurer
  • Filing a lawsuit against the parties with legal responsibility for your accident (or a loved one’s accident)

Your attorney will review all the facts related to your case and provide a personalized case plan.

When May It Be Necessary to File a Lawsuit After a Road Rage Accident?

Filing an insurance claim is the most common course of action following traffic accidents. However, it is sometimes necessary to file a lawsuit against liable parties (either after filing an insurance claim or in lieu of a claim).

It may be necessary to file a lawsuit if:

  • The amount of compensation provided through insurance does not cover the cost of your accident-related damages
  • Insurance should cover your damages, but insurance companies refuse to extend a fair settlement offer
  • Those liable for your auto accident did not have insurance
  • Other circumstances make filing a lawsuit the appropriate decision for you

It is usually best to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company if there is an insurance company to negotiate with. There is a chance that the insurer will provide the compensation you deserve, which can be the most efficient way to resolve your case.

Though settling is the most common outcome for auto accident cases, your attorney will be willing to file a lawsuit (and even go to trial) if it is in your interests.

What Should I Do After a Road Rage Accident?

Every car accident is jarring, and a collision fueled by road rage can be particularly unsettling. You should focus on your health and psychological recovery, but you also want to consider the financial recovery you are entitled to.

You can take care of each of these priorities by:

Getting Medical Attention

Your first mission should be to protect your physical health. Do this by getting medical attention from your doctor, an urgent care practitioner, or emergency medical personnel. You may need:

  • A comprehensive physical exam
  • Imaging of injuries (or possible injuries)
  • Surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Visits with specialists
  • Rehabilitation services

Treatment plans are personalized, and only a medical provider can set you on the path toward recovery. It is also important to document your injuries and treatment, and getting medical attention as soon as possible addresses this need.

Getting a Psychological Evaluation

Motor vehicle accidents can cause psychological and emotional injuries in addition to physical ailments. If you feel necessary, you can visit a therapist or other licensed mental health professional to:

  • Get formal diagnoses for accident-related conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression
  • Learn coping mechanisms that may allow you to recover psychologically and emotionally
  • Get prescriptions for any medications you need to alleviate accident-related symptoms

You may choose to receive regular therapy to cope with your pain and suffering. Your attorney will work with your mental health counselors to detail your pain and suffering (and related treatment costs).

Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

Hiring an attorney may be just as important as tending to your health. A lawyer’s job will be to ensure fair compensation so you can afford medical services, cover vehicle repairs and lost income, and work towards normalcy after your road rage accident.

In the immediate future, an attorney can:

  • Protect you from and deal with insurance companies
  • Advise you about the next steps to take
  • Pair you with medical and mental health professionals
  • Immediately gather evidence related to your accident

Your lawyer may also provide peace of mind, as your case will be out of your hands. You can prioritize recovery while your attorney leads your insurance claim or lawsuit.

How an Attorney Can Help You After a Road Rage Accident

How an Attorney Can Help You After a Road Rage Accident

A lawyer will take every detail of your case off your hands. An attorney’s duties in a road rage accident case generally include:

Obtaining Evidence That Benefits Your Case

Your lawyer will hastily gather evidence, as they’ll know it is not always available for long. Useful evidence in your case may include:

  • The enraged motorist’s admission that they were acting out of anger
  • Eyewitness testimony about the motorist’s road rage (or other aspects of the accident)
  • Video footage of the accident or a driver acting erratically
  • A police report documenting the accident
  • Expert testimony about why the accident happened
  • An expert’s reconstruction of the accident

Your attorney and their investigative team will obtain evidence without delay. If they need to take legal measures to obtain evidence from parties refusing to share the evidence, your attorney will do so.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

Insurers do not always handle claims in good faith. You may face several threats from insurers, including:

  • Denial of your claim
  • Attempts to have you admit to fault for your accident
  • Lowball settlement offers
  • Pressure to accept the lowball settlement offers
  • Claim delays
  • Hardball negotiation tactics

While an insurance company can negotiate in good faith, you shouldn’t take the risk that one will try to violate your case. An attorney will handle insurers so your rights (and case) will be safe.

Documenting Damages from the Accident

A car accident lawyer will clearly show how your damages have affected you. They may obtain:

  • Photographs and medical images of your injuries
  • Medical bills
  • Expert testimony about your injuries, mental health difficulties, and care needs
  • Evidence of lost income
  • Invoices for vehicle repairs, replacement of a totaled vehicle, and temporary transportation

The more detail your lawyer provides of your damages, the stronger your case will be.

Calculating a Settlement Target

Your attorney will calculate your case’s value, and this will set the target for settlement negotiations. Your attorney will calculate the cost of economic and non-economic damages, including any future medical care, rehabilitation, and lost income.

Leading Settlement Negotiations

One of a lawyer’s greatest assets will be their experience negotiating financial settlements. Negotiations may call for your lawyer to:

  • Prepare a fact- and evidence-based case
  • Present all available proof of your damages, including any expert testimony they have collected
  • Present available evidence of the enraged driver’s negligence
  • Make an oral case on your behalf
  • Respond to any arguments the insurance company makes against your case

Each negotiation is unique and dynamic. Many negotiations pit attorneys against insurance representatives determined to pay the accident victim as little as possible. You may choose to avoid this contentious process and instead allow an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you.

Going to Court (If Necessary)

Settlements are usually Plan A, while trials may be Plan B. If negotiations do not produce the settlement offer you deserve, your attorney should discuss a trial with you. If you mutually agree to go to court, your lawyer will ask a jury to award you the compensation you deserve.

Recoverable Damages in Your Road Rage Accident Case

Every auto accident attorney shares a mission: To obtain the compensation their client deserves for accident-related damages. Whether they are leading an insurance claim or suing the driver who caused your road rage accident, your lawyer will seek compensation for:

  • All accident-related medical bills
  • Pain and suffering, which can include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, lost quality of life, sleep issues, scarring and disfigurement, and physical pain
  • Counseling, therapy, medications, and any other treatment you need for psychological or emotional symptoms
  • Repairing your vehicle
  • Replacing a totaled vehicle
  • Securing temporary transportation
  • Any income, earning power, or other professional damages you’ve suffered since the accident

Attorneys understand the web of damages an auto accident can create in a victim’s life. Your lawyer will identify, document, and calculate every damage resulting from the reckless motorist’s negligence.

Find Your Car Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible

Steven A. Bagen, Attorney for Car Accident
Steven A. Bagen, Car Accident Lawyer

Time is of the essence in road rage accident cases. Your attorney needs to secure evidence, build your case, and file any necessary lawsuit before deadlines expire. Find a personal injury attorney in your area and hire them as soon as possible.

Finances should not be a concern when seeking legal representation. Your car accident attorney will evaluate your options at no charge, and you pay nothing to secure their services. You have nothing to lose, so act today.