Road rages incidents in Michigan are increasing. Aggressive and reckless drivers can cause serious injuries. A Michigan road rage accident lawyer can help you receive compensation for your injuries and hold these people accountable for their actions.
In Michigan, there are serious penalties for drivers who drive recklessly and engage in violent behaviors like road rage. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a road rage accident, contact the Lee Steinberg Law Firm immediately. Our team of dedicated auto accident injury lawyers will do what it takes to ensure you receive full money compensation and justice from the reckless driver.
What is Road Rage?
The NHTSA defines aggressive driving as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Road rage also entails extreme deliberate, unsafe driving that poses an immediate and significant risk to property of another.
An important distinction is that aggressive driving is a traffic violation, while road rage is a criminal offense. This is because road rage incidents are intentional acts that can lead to horrible injuries and even death. Road rage is different than a standard negligence case.
What are Examples of a Road Rage Incident?
Road rage accidents in Michigan are the result of aggressive and dangerous driving. There are many different examples of road rage, but some of the common examples include:
- Hitting, bumping or sideswiping another vehicle
- Forcing another car off the road
- Cutting off another driver with the aim to put them in danger
- Using headlights or brakes to intimidate of harass another driver
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Tailgating and frequently changing lanes to make another driver uncomfortable
- Disregarding traffic signals, road signs and running a red light
Are Road Rage Accidents Increasing?
Road rage incidents have been increasing for decades. The trend has only continued over the past few years. According to a recent AAA survey, 82% of people admitted to committing an act of road page in the past year. Over the past seven years, road rage has resulted in 12,610 injuries and over 200 fatalities.
In addition, over 68 million drivers have driven through a red light and 32% of drivers made rude gestures or honked at another driver. As many as 25% of drivers admitted to speeding up when another driver tried to overtake them.
Road rage is not only a criminal offense, but it is a traffic offense and the person responsible for causing injuries can be held civilly responsible. This can include the payment of pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages by the auto insurance carrier. However, insurance companies try to get out of paying these cases. That is why you need an experienced Michigan road rage accident lawyer on your side.
What Causes Road Rage?
There are numerous factors for the increase in road rage accident and injuries. People are feeling stressed out and anxious like never before. This type of feelings leads to bad choices when behind the wheel. Distracted driving can lead to retaliation by other drivers. People who are drunk driving or driving while high are less inhibited and more likely to make bad choices.
Drivers may feel frustrated and act out of rage when they are cut off, stuck behind a slow-moving driver or in congested traffic and construction zones. These driving behaviors may cause a driver to become angry and impulsive.
Is Road Rage a Criminal Offense?
There is no specific road rage law or criminal statute. However, aggressive and reckless driving results in the violation of basic traffic laws and ordinances. When aggressive driving turns into road rage, it can result in a criminal charge such as assault or intent to do great bodily harm. Criminal charges also result from the use of a discharge of a firearm or use of a deadly weapon.
The most common type of road rage violation results in “reckless driving.” Reckless driving involves driving with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” If can result in up to 6 points on a driving record and is a more serious offense than careless driving.
If reckless driving results in serious impairment of a body function to another person, it can lead to a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Reckless driving resulting in death is punishable up to 15 years in prison.
Can I Sue Someone for a Road Rage Accident?
Yes. If another driver causes an injury from a road rage incident, that driver is responsible for the harm cased. You can collect pain and suffering, emotional distress and other non-economic damages. In some situations, that driver is also responsible for medical bills and lost wages not covered by the PIP no-fault carrier.
These cases can result in criminal prosecution of the defendant, which can make them more complicated than a standard negligence case.
Sometimes, the defendant won’t testify under the 5th Amendment privilege. That is why it is important to hire an experienced road rage law firm that has handled these lawsuits for decades in Michigan.
Will Auto Insurance Cover a Road Rage Accident?
Yes, in Michigan the car insurance for the at-faut driver must cover the person who caused the road rage injury. This is true even though it is an intentional act. Although many auto insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional actus, such as assault or intentionally running into another vehicle, the car insurance carrier must still at least pay the Michigan state minimum of bodily injury coverage.
This means the insurance company for the at-fault driver who had road rage and caused the crash, as well as the owner of that vehicle, must pay at least $50,000 in coverage for personal injuries resulting from the road rage incident. In some situations, it can be as high as $250,000.
Can I Still Get Michigan No-Fault Benefits After a Road Rage Accident?
Yes, so long as you were own uninsured car was not involved in the road rage incident, you are still entitled to all standard Michigan no-fault benefits. These benefits include the payment of medical bills, 85% of lost wages for up to 3 years, the payment of out-of-pock expenses, prescriptions, and other benefits.
A passenger who doesn’t have auto insurance of their own can also collect no-fault benefits following a road rage accident. The correct insurance company must be notified in writing within one year of the crash. An experienced Michigan road rage accident lawyer can help you determine which car insurance company is responsible for paying the claim and set up the claim for you.
Road Rage Accident Settlements
The amount of money a road rage case settles for depends upon a number of factors. The most important factor is the severity of the injuries. The more severe the injuries, the greater the value of the case.
The severity of the injury can be broken down into different components. This includes whether the injury is permanent or not, whether surgery was necessary, what kind of future medical treatment will be needed and other factors.
However, the aggressive and malicious behavior of the defendant in a road rage case matters too. A jury will more likely express anger at a defendant who acted intentionally and without regard to the safety and well being of another driver. After all, that could have been them who got injured!
As a result, juries are more likely to award more money to a person injured by who acted recklessly compared to someone who simply made a small mistake.
Settlements from road rage accidents are like other personal injury cases. They include payment for items such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, scarring, disability and lost work.
A Michigan car accident law firm who has experience in road rage cases can walk you through the process of what a road rage case entails and answer questions you may have.
Can You Sue for Wrongful Death From a Road Rage Incident?
Yes, absolutely. A person who drives recklessly or aggressively that leads to the death of an innocent person can be held accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases are filed by a family member or friend who acts as a Personal Representative on behalf of the estate of the deceased.
Certain family members and those included in a will are entitled to recover compensation under the Michigan wrongful death statute. These individuals can recover for conscious pain and suffering suffered by the deceased as well as loss of society and companionship sustained by the family members.
Have You Been Injured in a Road Rage Accident in Michigan?
If you or a loved one are injured in a road rage incident, let the attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm assist you. We have helped families all over Michigan obtain millions in personal injury and wrongful death benefits.
Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). The call is free, the consultation is free, and we don’t charge anything until we win your case.