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The Ever-Present Threat of Aggressive Drivers and What You Can Do If You’ve Been Hurt in California Due to Road Rage

Road rage is in the news again here locally. Fortunately, an incident in Half Moon Bay that made the news recently ended with no one being seriously hurt. Nevertheless, this local incident is a reminder that, too many times, road rage or other forms of aggressive driving take a serious or deadly toll. If you have been hurt in a crash because someone was driving aggressively, or if you have lost a loved one in an accident like this, the law may permit you to recover a significant sum in compensation for your loss. To get started, retain a knowledgeable San Mateo vehicle accident lawyer to provide you and your family with the legal help you need.

According to the San Mateo Sheriff’s Department, the road rage incident was preceded by a minor, non-injury crash in Half Moon Bay shortly after 11:00 am. The drivers exited their vehicles and a “verbal altercation” between N.B., a 44-year-old Moss Beach woman, and another driver ensued, according to The Mercury News.

A “Good Samaritan” intervened to try to defuse the argument when, according to deputies, N.B. wielded a container of bear spray and sprayed that bystander in the face. The Good Samaritan was treated and released. N.B. was arrested and booked at the San Mateo County jail, according to a KTVU report.

Many of These Accidents End in Catastrophic Injury or Death

Road rage and aggressive driving often have far more catastrophic results. ABC 7 in Los Angeles reported that, in 2018, CHP statistics revealed that almost two-thirds of the fatal accidents in Southern California “were caused by factors associated with road rage.”

Last year, for example, a dispute in Hollywood between a motorcyclist and the driver of a Mercedes, which at one point included the Mercedes bumping the motorcycle, ended when the driver of the Mercedes “was ejected (or) fell out of the car somehow, striking a tree.” Her passenger took the wheel and tried to take off, but ran over her and killed her, according to news reports.

Just a few days earlier, a game of “ding dong ditch” (which is a game where a prankster rings a doorbell and then flees before the home’s occupant can open the door) turned deadly in Temescal Valley. A group of Riverside County teens engaged in the prank but, instead of just expressing verbal frustration, the home’s occupant grabbed his keys and pursued the car full of teens. Authorities said that the man intentionally struck the teens’ Toyota Prius, causing the driver to lose control and hit a tree. Three of the teens died in the crash.

These, of course, are just a few examples.

Your road-rage or other aggressive driving accident probably won’t involve bear spray or doorbell pranks. It will probably look like someone who, unable to control their emotions while behind the wheel, intentionally followed too closely (“tailgating”), intentionally engaged in unsafe braking (“brake checking”), or intentionally made an unsafe lane change (“cut off”) as a means for venting their anger. Their unsafe driving then triggered an accident and your injuries.

When that happens to you, you need a skilled legal team on your side. That’s essential because complete success will almost certainly require an in-depth investigation and analysis of the accident. This investigation can reveal what really happened and help you amass the proof you need to show that the at-fault driver drove in a way that was not just unsafe but intentionally dangerous.

That’s very important because a case like yours may offer the opportunity to collect damages not available in all auto accident injury cases. Most cases will allow the injured person to recover only damages that compensate them for their actual losses. However, a case like yours, with the right evidence, may allow you to recover something called “punitive damages” on top of those actual damages. Punitive damages, as the name implies, are awarded to the injured person as a way of punishing the wrongdoer and deterring others from engaging in similar wrongdoing. These may be available if you can prove the road-raging driver acted with the degree of recklessness or intentional misconduct required by the law.

When you are hurt or a loved one is killed because of another’s road rage or aggressive driving, you need the right legal advocate on your side. Reach out to the experienced San Mateo road rage accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to get the legal help you need to get everything you deserve. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

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