Road Rage Accidents
Road rage accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. These accidents occur when one or more drivers operate their vehicles aggressively, such as by tailgating, speeding, shouting profanities, honking excessively, speaking in a threatening manner, making rude hand gestures, brandishing a gun or other weapon, or even purposefully crashing into another vehicle. If you were seriously injured due to a collision involving road rage, you should consult the seasoned Syracuse car accident lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.Road Rage Accidents
Road rage incidents can be terrifying. In New York, the criminal justice system may treat such incidents as reckless driving, which involves using a vehicle so as to unreasonably interfere with proper, free use of the public highway. While reckless driving is a misdemeanor, police officers and courts take it seriously. Depending on the particular circumstances, criminal penalties may attach, and restitution might be awarded to an accident victim. However, criminal cases must meet a higher burden of proof than personal injury cases.
If your injuries are serious enough to go beyond the parameters of your no-fault insurance, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against a driver whose road rage caused or contributed to your injuries. Because evidence obtained in the criminal case may be important to your personal injury case, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can.Liability for Road Rage Accidents in Syracuse
To show that another driver was liable for the accident, you will need to prove each of these elements: (1) the other driver owed you a duty of reasonable care, (2) the other driver breached the duty of reasonable care by exhibiting road rage, (3) actual and proximate causation, and (4) damages.
Establishing these elements may require surveillance footage or eyewitness testimony. After a road rage accident, you should take down phone numbers of any witnesses. You should also notify the police and ask them to come to the scene to gather evidence.
Evidence gathered in a criminal case against the defendant for driving recklessly could help establish the elements of your personal injury lawsuit. While prosecutors would need to prove criminal charges against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, it is easier to establish a personal injury lawsuit because you only need to show that the elements of negligence more likely than not exist.
If the defendant intentionally collided with you, it may be appropriate to sue for assault and battery, in addition to the negligence claim.Damages in Road Rage Accidents
Assuming you meet the threshold for serious injuries that allows you to sue an aggressive driver rather than file a claim with your own insurance, and you establish your case, you can recover economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are items of loss such as medical bills, replacement services, therapy bills, wage loss, rehabilitation, and out-of-pocket costs. Generally, you can only recover a certain amount of economic losses by filing a personal injury protection (PIP) claim against your own insurer.
Noneconomic losses include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment. For example, if an angry, tailgating driver rammed into your car in a fit of rage and, as a result, you became paralyzed and were no longer able to play sports or perform your job as you did before sustaining injuries, you would likely have significant noneconomic losses. You cannot obtain noneconomic damages through your own no-fault insurance.Retain an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Syracuse
If you were injured in a road rage accident, it is advisable to talk to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney with trial experience. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents car accident victims in Syracuse, Rochester, and other places in Upstate New York, including in Auburn, Canandaigua, Lyons, Oswego, Watertown, Elmira, Herkimer, Ithaca, Lowville, Utica, Wampsville, Binghamton, Oneida, and Cooperstown. Please contact our firm at 315-479-9000 or via our online form.