You may be familiar with the terms “aggressive driving” and “road rage.” Many of us interchange the terms in conversation, referring to anyone who gets frustrated behind the wheel of a car as someone who has “road rage.”
Sometimes we might engage in aggressive driving behaviors ourselves without ever intending to behave aggressively. However, our actions might be perceived as aggressive by other drivers. So, is there a difference between aggressive driving and road rage in car accident cases? And if there is a difference, does that distinction matter when it comes to filing a car accident claim?
Understanding Aggressive Driving
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA), aggressive driving is usually understood to be “any unsafe driving behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety.”
In other words, aggressive driving can be intentional, but it does not need to be. The term can also refer to driving actions that do not show a necessary regard for the safety of others on the roads. Common examples of aggressive driving include speeding, tailgating, running a red light, and changing lanes without using a turn signal.
If a motorist is driving aggressively and causes a crash, the injured party usually can file either a first-party or third-party insurance claim to seek compensation and, if necessary, a car accident lawsuit to seek compensatory damages.
How is Road Rage Different?
While aggressive driving can be intentional but need not be, road rage is nearly always intentional. AAA describes road rage as particular actions that can result from “extreme cases of aggressive driving.”
Examples of road rage might include making obscene gestures at another driver, throwing objects at another driver’s vehicle, ramming into another car, intentionally sideswiping another vehicle, or even attempting to run another driver off the road.
Can you still file the same types of claims for a road rage accident as you would for an aggressive driving accident? In general, an injury victim would file the same claims process. What may be different, however, is the ability to seek punitive or exemplary damages in a lawsuit.
If a driver engaged in a road rage behavior and caused a serious injury, the court might believe that the behavior was so egregious that the driver should pay additional damages. Punitive or exemplary damages, unlikely compensatory damages that compensate, are aimed at punishing bad actions.
Call Me for Help with Your Claim
Sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly what caused a crash. While breathalyzer tests can determine whether a driver was intoxicated, it gets more complicated when a driver was drowsy, or when a driver was behaving aggressively on the road.
In many situations involving aggressive driving or even road rage, an accident reconstruction expert may be able to gather evidence from the scene of the crash to demonstrate how the at-fault driver’s aggression or road rage resulted in the crash.
If you were injured by an aggressive driver, I want to do everything I can to help. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office today at 877.944.4373 to get started on your claim.