If you suffered serious injuries in a road rage accident in New York, you might be entitled to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Contact the New York road rage accident attorneys Finz and Finz, P.C. today to discuss the details of your case and find out how our attorneys can potentially help you maximize your final settlement. We provide a free consultation so that you can understand your legal rights and options.
What is Road Rage or Aggressive Driving?
Road rage is a form of aggressive driving. Road rage often occurs when a motorist has been inconvenienced or experienced another incident while driving. Some common behaviors associated with road rage include yelling verbal insults, making physical threats, driving dangerously around other cars, cutting off other vehicles, angrily honking at a specific driver, and other aggressive behaviors targeted at motorists, cyclists, and even pedestrians. These behaviors are usually intended to intimidate or frustrate someone who has seemingly inconvenienced the aggressive driver.
Some motorists overcome with anger will even purposefully crash their vehicle into another vehicle or use a deadly weapon to threaten or kill another motorist. While aggressive driving is a traffic violation, it can quickly become a criminal offense if the aggressive driver threatens or commits violence against someone else.
Proving Liability for a Road Rage Accident in New York
Because New York is a no-fault state, most motorists who are injured in traffic accidents will turn to their own personal injury protection (PIP) policies for coverage. New York requires drivers to possess at least $50,000 in PIP coverage.
If you were injured in a road rage accident in New York, you could initially file a claim with your PIP policy provider regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This would allow you to obtain the coverage you need to pay for expenses incurred in the direct aftermath of the crash.
However, if you were seriously injured in the accident, your medical expenses could quickly exceed your PIP policy limits. If your injuries are severe, you could be eligible to step outside of New York’s no-fault auto insurance system and pursue a third-party insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit directly against the aggressive driver who caused the crash.
For your claim or lawsuit to be successful, you will need to prove fault on the part of the other motorist. You must gather evidence to establish liability, including surveillance camera footage, cell phone records, photos from the scene, medical records, witness statements, accident reconstruction expert testimony, the police report, and other documentation. Because aggressive driving is a traffic infraction, the at-fault motorist may be issued a traffic citation for aggressive driving. A traffic ticket can provide strong evidence of liability.
Amassing this evidence can be incredibly challenging if you try to do it independently, especially while you are recovering from your injuries. We highly recommend hiring an experienced aggressive driving accident attorney to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the crash on your behalf.
There are four primary elements of negligence. You or your attorney must be able to prove all four points for your claim or lawsuit to succeed.
- Duty of care – First, you must show that the at-fault party had a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely and protect other motorists from being harmed.
- Breach – Next, you must demonstrate that the at-fault driver breached their duty of care by driving irresponsibly and aggressively.
- Causation – Third, you’ll have to show how the aggressive driver’s negligence directly caused the accident and your injuries.
- Damages – Lastly, you must have suffered compensable damages to recover compensation. Compensable damages conclude financial expenses and non-financial losses.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident and your injuries, you might be able to recover compensation for medical costs, rehabilitative care, lost income, reduced future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
In extreme cases, a jury might also consider awarding you punitive damages, particularly if the aggressive driver behaved in an excessively reckless manner or acted with malice (for instance, if they purposefully hit you). The goal of punitive damages is to punish the aggressive driver for their egregious behavior and dissuade them from engaging in such behavior in the future.
Steps to Take After a Road Rage Accident
If you’ve been injured in an aggressive driving accident, there are several steps that you should take in the aftermath of the accident to safeguard your rights. Gathering and preserving vital evidence at the accident scene can make proving liability a lot easier down the road.
- Call 911 – Call the police and report the accident. When law enforcement officers arrive on the scene, they will create an accident report. This accident report will contain crucial information that can help you prove liability. Most accident reports contain descriptions of the victims’ injuries, witness contact information, other information about the accident scene, and an initial determination of fault.
- Gather evidence – Take photos and videos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, debris and road hazards in the area, and the full accident scene from different angles. You should also speak to any nearby people who may have witnessed the accident. Ask them for their names and phone numbers. Your attorney may contact them later to get a statement or to provide testimony in court on your behalf.
- Seek medical attention – Make sure a medical professional evaluates you within 72 hours. Most insurance companies require claimants to be seen within that window of time.
- Get medical records – Request copies of your medical records and keep them in a file, along with other documentation related to the accident, including hospital bills, pay stubs that show evidence of missed work, and the police report. This documentation can help you build a case against the liable party.
- Keep a pain journal – Describe your physical pain each day throughout your recovery in a pain journal, and your mental and emotional condition. Your attorney can use this to show evidence of non-financial losses.
Finally, you should hire a New York personal injury attorney to begin working on your case as soon as possible after the accident. In New York, you generally have three years to take legal action against the at-fault party, so there is no time to waste.
Contact an Aggressive Driving Attorney Today
If you were seriously injured in an aggressive driving accident, contact a New York car accident lawyer at Finz and Finz, P.C. We understand the financial strain that medical expenses and lost income can place on you and your family, and we are committed to helping you seek the financial relief you need to return to normal. Call us at 855-TOP-FIRM or reach out to us online for a 100% free case evaluation.