As the pandemic ends, traffic is picking back up in California. That’s a good sign, but it comes with consequences. Drivers who aren’t used to sharing the roads are getting frustrated and dangerous. As a result, road rage incidents are on the rise.
One recent, fatal incident took place on the 55 Freeway. A mother and her 6-year-old son were travelling on the highway and another driver cut her off when she tried to switch lanes. After the mother managed to successful change lanes, the passenger of the car who cut her off fired a gun at her car. The bullet pierced the back car door and killed her child. The police believe that the shooting was due to road rage.
Not every instance of road rage involves firearms, but they can all be dangerous. Here’s what you need to know about this angry overreaction and how you can recover after someone else’s aggressive driving.
What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is all too common. Some people have a lot of anger and aggression without an outlet. When these people get on the road, that anger finds a way to be expressed: the driver rages at the normal inconveniences of driving. They take these inconveniences personally. Another car driving too slowly or cutting them off can trigger moments of explosive anger in these drivers.
That anger is dangerous. Drivers with uncontrolled anger will “retaliate” against the vehicle that “wronged” them. In extreme cases like the 55 Freeway incident, it can involve gunshots. More commonly, the angry driver will do things like:
- Tailgate their victim
- Yell or honk
- Follow their victim to their destination to confront them
- Intentionally ram or sideswipe them
- Block traffic and lane changes
- Cut off other cars
Obviously, any one of these behaviors can be dangerous, and some are deadly. The problem is that laws against angry driving are ineffective at preventing these spur of the moment outbursts.
What to Do If You’ve Suffered a Road Rage Accident
A road rage accident is at best scary and unpleasant. At worst, you can be seriously injured or even killed. If you’re worried about other people’s angry driving, it’s smart to prepare in advance. These five steps will help you get through any accident safely and get the compensation you need.
1. Call the Police
First, call the police as soon as you’ve been in an accident. It’s always important to have a police officer write a report about a car accident if you need to file an insurance claim. However, in these accidents, legal intervention is even more important.
By definition, these crashes are caused by the angry driver on purpose. They’ve committed a crime, and the police may choose to charge them. More importantly, if a driver was raging enough to force you to crash, they may not be satisfied when the accident occurs. By calling the police, you can get additional protection as soon as possible from the angry person.
2. Get Medical Help
Next, get medical help as quickly as possible. If you’re seriously injured, go to the hospital. Even if you don’t immediately notice any problems, you should still get yourself checked out. Some types of car accident injuries take time to develop. A concussion, a slow brain bleed, and whiplash may not become obvious until hours or days later.
A medical examination is crucial evidence for both insurance claims and lawsuits. The more quickly you get medical help, the more trustworthy the medical records are considered. You can protect your health and build your case at the same time.
3. Document the Accident
If you don’t need immediate medical intervention, document the road rage accident as thoroughly as possible. You can do things like:
- Video record any interactions you have with the other driver
- Collect the other driver’s insurance information
- Take pictures of damage to your car
- Take pictures of where your car crashed
- Take pictures of any bruises and injuries you received
Like a medical examination, this documentation can act as proof for your insurance and lawsuits. You’re more likely to receive the full damages and insurance payments you’re owed when you can prove how badly your car was damaged. You can also remove all doubt that the accident was caused by road rage when you have video of the other driver’s behavior.
4. File an Insurance Claim
After you’ve gotten medical help and collected documentation, it’s time to file an insurance claim. You’ll either file a claim with the other driver’s insurance, since they caused the accident, or your own insurance if they aren’t insured.
Be prepared to fight for yourself and your needs. Insurance companies are incentivized to pay as little as possible for every claim. Submit your documentation and keep copies of every communication to make sure that you’re taken seriously.
5. Consult with an Attorney
There are two reasons to work with a road rage attorney. First, they can help you navigate your insurance claim process. If your claim is denied, a good attorney can help you appeal and get the insurance payments you need to cover medical and repair costs.
Second, a qualified attorney can help you determine whether you should file a civil lawsuit against the other driver. Whether or not the angry driver was charged with a crime, you can still sue them for your injuries and losses. That can help make up for things that insurance didn’t cover, like lost wages and a lower quality of life. Your attorney will also help you file the lawsuit and make your case in court.
Don’t Let Road Rage Ruin Your Life
You can’t prevent other drivers from experiencing road rage, but you can take action afterward. By calling the police, getting a prompt medical examination, documenting the accident, and working with an attorney, you give yourself the best chance of recovery.
Someone else’s outburst shouldn’t ruin the rest of your life. With the right help and the right documentation, you can get back to normal as soon as possible. If you’ve already suffered from someone else’s road rage, reach out to an experienced car accident attorney today to discuss your case.