Are you easily angered behind the wheel? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans become impatient and frustrated while driving, leading to incidents of aggression, known as road rage, and these incidents can trigger all sorts of aggressive behavior such as yelling, rude gestures, aggressive maneuvers, and even intentional contact with the intent of forcing another driver into an accident.
Remember this viral video of an accident that occurred up in Santa Clarita earlier this summer? This is just one example of a road rage incident gone horribly wrong. Just like in the video, these incidents typically occur during high-congestion hours, such as your morning and evening commutes. Often times a driver who is already frustrated can be pushed over the edge by even just a small action by another driver, causing them to become reckless and put both their life and the lives of others in serious danger.
Are Road Rage Incidents Covered?
If you’re one of these people who quickly becomes angered and lashes out or becomes aggressive while driving, you may want to stop and consider a few things before getting behind the wheel again. For starters, car accidents of all types are a serious matter, causing severe injuries, and drivers who cause these accidents are not exempt from them. In the video above, the motorcycle rider who triggered the conflict was lucky to escape without being crushed against the freeway divider, and many other drivers aren’t so lucky, quickly becoming entangled in the wreck they caused.
And the consequences don’t stop there—many drivers who cause these road rage accidents quickly find out the hard way that they’re on their own. Your auto insurance policy is designed to protect you in the event of an accident, but they do so only if you are operating your vehicle safely. Aggressive driving, speeding, racing, and other risky behaviors are not typically covered on an auto insurance policy, and you might abruptly discover that this may include intentionally causing an accident. Intentionally ramming another driver is most definitely included.
Oh, and you may also face criminal consequences for your actions as well, since attempting to injure another individual could be considered assault.
While the Santa Clarita incident made news headlines and thrust the issue of road rage into the spotlight, Bob Passmore of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America says these incidents “don’t happen as often as you think.” Thankfully, most people realize that it’s not worth it. He adds “In my experience, where you have people fighting or hurt, that’s relatively rare.”
That being said when road rage does go too far, there is a fairly substantial injury risk. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety did a study of 10,000 road rage incidents over a 7-year period and found that about 1,800 injuries per year could be attributed to this problem, plus 31 fatalities. While some did come from road rage-induced accidents, many others came from altercations that occur outside the vehicles.
If you have been the victim of road rage and sustained an injury, there is good news: you have options for legal recourse that can help you recover from your injuries and obtain compensation for your losses. While the other person’s insurance may not necessarily cover the cost of the accident, your own insurance can take care of you, provided you have the right policy coverage. Comprehensive coverage is intended to protect you from incidents where your car is damaged by something other than a collision, including bad weather, falling objects, or in the case of road rage, vandals.
Collision coverage protects you when your car hits another vehicle while on the road. When your accident occurs while you’re driving you may still make one of these claims, but your deductible might be slightly higher, depending on your policy. However, your insurance company will likely also hold the other driver accountable and use their legal options to pursue the other driver for the necessary compensation, provided you can get their information.
You should also consider retaining a Pasadena car accident attorney for help with this process. An injury lawyer can use the evidence in your case to hold those who have injured you in a road rage incident accountable for their actions, and get you the settlement or verdict you deserve so you can recover and get back on your feet.For more information, call Tedford & Associates today by dialing (626) 325-0142.