It seems that I'm getting more and more phone calls from people who are injured as a result of a road rage incident. I witnessed one on the road a few weeks ago when an SUV cut off a van, and the van driver got angry, blared the horn, and then whipped around the SUV and slammed her brakes on it in front of the SUV. Thankfully, no crash occurred, but it sure was scary!
I do get the question, “can I sue the driver who caused a crash during a road rage incident?” The answer is yes, you can sue the driver, but the problem is that person’s insurance company may likely deny any insurance coverage. This is because the road rage incident could be seen as an intentional act, and intentional acts are rarely covered by insurance. However, even in a road rage incident, it might be arguable that the person that acted in rage didn't intend for an accident to happen, which might help to trigger insurance coverage. That is why, if you are involved in an incident that involved some element of road rage, you need to contact a qualified personal injury attorney right away, because you don’t want to do or say anything that might trigger a denial of insurance coverage.
Now, of course, if the person intentionally runs into you, then a denial of insurance coverage from that person’s insurance company is likely and probably valid. But if the person just tries to express their anger and you get scared and run off the road, then that could be a case where the road-raging driver could be considered as having acted negligently instead of intentionally, and therefore, his or her acts may be covered by insurance. Expect a fight from the other driver’s insurance company in these types of cases.
If you are injured as a result of a road rage incident and the other driver’s insurance company denies coverage, that other driver is now an uninsured motorist, and so you may then present a claim to your own insurance company for uninsured motorist benefits, to compensate you for the acts of the uninsured motorist.
Oftentimes, in road rage incidents, the person that caused the crash leaves the scene. If you got the license plate number of the person who caused the incident, then of course, report that information to the police. However, people often don’t get the license plate number and cannot identify the person who caused the crash. If you are injured by someone who leaves the scene of the crash, you could have a claim against your own insurance company's uninsured motorist coverage. Again, this is why you have to be careful when you are involved in such case and you probably should contact an attorney right away if you feel that you are injured as a result of the road rage incident.
The most important thing to always do, when you are involved in a road rage incident, is to call the police.
We have handled several road rage incidents here in the off here in my office, so feel free to contact me if you were a victim of such a crash. It is a shame that these crashes happen, but unfortunately, it is a sign of the times and the result of so much distracted driving occurring these days.