March 11, 2022

Who Is at Fault in a Road Rage Accident?

It is not uncommon for drivers to find themselves in frustrating situations while behind the wheel. Whether due to traffic congestion, impatience, or the actions of other drivers, the frustration of some drivers can quickly escalate to road rage, a form of deliberately aggressive driving.

Road rage is a dangerous threat to everyone on the road. In Wisconsin, a road rage incident can lead to a criminal charge of disorderly conduct. If a driver experiencing road rage causes an accident that harms others, that driver may be held liable for injuries that occur as a result of his or her reckless actions.

If you were hurt by an aggressive driver in a road rage accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. The car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have helped accident victims in Wisconsin for years. We are passionate about helping our clients recover their losses and move forward with their lives.

Proving Fault in a Wisconsin Road Rage Accident

Personal injury cases center on negligence. When the careless or reckless behavior of someone inflicts injury onto another person, the negligent party can be held liable for the resulting harm.

To establish negligence, your car accident lawyer must prove four key elements:

  • Duty: It must first be established that the individual against whom your claim is made owed you a duty. This may involve the duty of a motorist to drive cautiously and avoid an accident, even when he or she experiences frustration while behind the wheel.
  • Breach: Once a duty has been established, your lawyer must prove that the other party breached that duty. A breach can involve either an action or a failure to act by the other motorist.
  • Causation: After proving a breach of duty, your attorney must demonstrate that this breach caused you harm by providing evidence that demonstrates injury was “reasonably foreseeable” at the time it occurred.
  • Damages: The nature and extent of your damages, including your physical, emotional, and financial losses must be proven. This includes medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

How Can Road Rage Affect a Car Accident Case?

If your car wreck and subsequent injuries were caused by an aggressive motorist or a driver experiencing road rage, these facts can impact your claim for damages. When individuals exhibit signs of road rage and drive aggressively, there may be criminal charges or moving violations that can help demonstrate the negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous behavior that caused the collision. A criminal offense or traffic ticket can provide compelling evidence in favor of your case.

If the other driver was behaving violently or aggressively when the accident occurred, it may constitute gross negligence, which is legally more serious than typical negligence. Gross negligence applies to behavior that is inexcusable and egregious. In these cases, a judge or jury may award punitive damages to an injury victim. Punitive damages are intended to serve as punishment to a wrongdoer, as opposed to compensating a victim for their medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

When Is Aggressive Driving Considered Road Rage?

While road rage is a form of aggressive driving, the two terms are not interchangeable. These types of dangerous driving behaviors differ in both the actions of the offender and the type of violation committed.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is a traffic violation that typically includes behaviors such as:

  • Flashing headlights to get other drivers to move
  • Angry horn honking at other drivers
  • Blocking vehicles that try to pass or change lanes
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Dodging in and out of traffic lanes without signaling
  • Following other vehicles too closely
  • Excessive speeding

Any of the aggressive driving behaviors listed above are traffic violations that can result in a ticket being issued to the offender, as well as fines and points on their licenses. Aggressive driving can quickly escalate to a situation that is out of control or even criminally violent.

Road Rage

Road rage can lead to a criminal offense. This occurs when a driver knowingly commits a traffic offense with the goal of:

  • Assaulting another person with a vehicle or dangerous weapon
  • Endangering someone or causing them to be fearful of harm to their person or property

Common road rage behaviors include:

  • Physically confronting and assaulting another driver
  • Purposely crashing into another vehicle to run them off the road
  • Laying on the horn
  • Keeping high beams on at night, despite seeing oncoming vehicles
  • Aggressively cutting in front of drivers and slamming on the brakes
  • Flashing obscene gestures
  • Shouting verbal insults
  • Using weapons to assault or kill another driver

When aggressive behavior leads to either a threat of violence or an actual physical assault, it warrants more than a traffic ticket. It becomes a criminal offense.

Call a Car Accident Attorney in Wisconsin Today

If you were hurt in an accident and you believe another driver’s road rage may have played a role in the crash, the car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC want to hear your story. 

See our results.

Call us today at (715) 343-2850 for a free initial consultation. We proudly serve Plover, Marshfield, and all of Wisconsin.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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