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How to Respond if You’ve Been Injured by a ‘Road Rage’ Driver in California

Road rage is a problem everywhere, but it is particularly bad here in the Golden State. According to the website GasBuddy, three of 10 cities with the most aggressive drivers are California cities. (Sacramento was third, San Francisco fifth and San Diego sixth.) Stories in the news only reinforce the extent of the problem. In January, a Los Angeles area motorcyclist was killed by an enraged driver who followed him and ran over the motorcycle, NBC Los Angeles reported. In February, NBC Los Angeles reported on another Southern California crash that left one dead due to road rage. A suspected road rage driver took off from police and eventually slammed into a previously uninvolved vehicle, causing that vehicle to catch fire and kill the innocent driver inside.

Unlike many other auto accidents, aggressive driving accidents are some of the most preventable. We can’t always avoid making misjudgments behind the wheel, but we can avoid letting our base emotions take over and engaging in conduct that places everyone on the road at risk. If you’re injured by someone who has engaged in road rage-fueled unsafe driving, you may be entitled to substantial compensation, which is one reason why you should contact an experienced San Mateo injury attorney right away.

You have questions. We’re here to give you helpful answers

If you’ve suffered harm from this type of accident, there may three questions that leap to mind, which are: (1) Can I sue? (2) Who should I sue? and (3) What kind of compensation can I collect?

The answer to the first question is, in many circumstances, yes. If you were simply driving down the road and were struck by a road rage driver, then you maybe be able to pursue a negligence claim much like you would against any other driver. If the road rage driver was so distracted by his angry dispute that he rear-ended you, then he improperly failed to maintain a safe following distance. If he hit you after failing to stop for a stop sign or a red light, then he may be liable based upon his failure to yield the right of way. If he hit you in his effort to speed ahead and catch up to the source of his rage, then he may be liable for an unsafe lane change. Even if you cannot show that road rage was the motive, you may still be able to show that the driver drove unsafely and was therefore negligent (and liable for your harm.)

When it comes to naming the defendants in your case, it is very important to have a legal team that can help you “do your homework.” Say, for example, that you were hit by an out-of-control driver on the freeway. Let’s also assume that the driver lost control because he was engaged in a road-rage-fueled battle with another driver on that same stretch of freeway. Depending on what evidence you can acquire to support your case, the evidence may indicate that you have a viable action, not only against the driver who hit you, but also against the other driver with whom he was involved.

Additional compensation available in cases of malicious intentional conduct

Finally, when it comes to damages, there are several things to which you may be entitled. These can include what the law calls “general” and “special” damages. Those two types cover everything from scarring and disfigurement to pain and suffering to medical bills to lost wages (to name a few examples.) These damages may be available in many auto negligence cases.

In a road rage case, you may be entitled to more than just those. If the evidence in your case is enough to show that the driver(s) acted in a way consistent with California’s definition of “malice,” then you potentially can recover, on top of your general and special damages, an award for punitive damages.

Whether your auto accident injury is the result of ordinary negligence or intentional misconduct by the driver at fault, you need a skilled legal team to help you get the compensation you deserve. Talk to the experienced San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been helping people for many years who have been injured in a wide range of auto accident situations. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

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