A phrase that gained popularity in the 1980s, “road rage,” is a concern for many Illinois drivers. Although some incidents may involve an angry horn honk or rude gesture, others escalate to violence, reckless driving, and injuries. But victims don’t need to deal with the aftermath alone.
The Chicago car accident attorneys with Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., are prepared to hear your story. We understand that car accidents that stem from road rage incidents can have lifelong consequences, and when you aren’t the one responsible, you need help getting the compensation you deserve. We can help.
Call (312) 236-2900 to schedule your free, no-risk consultation.
The term “road rage “gained popularity after a string of highway shootings in California in the 1980s. But today, road rage is when a driver experiences anger, sometimes violence while behind the wheel, caused by stress and frustration while driving.
The Illinois State Police released a statement in 2023 describing an increase in dangerous activity throughout the state. The statement said there was a 12% increase in shootings stemming from road rage incidents from 2021 to 2022. At the time of the release, there had already been nine shootings in 2023.
Various actions fall under the road rage category, but all of them can threaten driver safety. Instances of road rage can look like:
In Illinois, if an offender drives with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property, they can be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. That offense is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Suppose a driver with road rage commits vehicular homicide or causes someone else great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement. In that case, they can face a Class 3 or 4 felony charge with more severe penalties.
It’s hard to say what can cause a driver to become enraged while on the road. The American Psychological Association wrote about several studies conducted to examine aggressive driving. Research points to crowded roads, a driver’s disposition towards anger, or even people dealing with unrelated stress.
Regardless of how they become angry, aggressive drivers can cause a variety of accidents, including:
If you’re hurt in an accident by a raging driver, you need to seek medical treatment. This isn’t just for your health: it can help a personal injury claim.
Examples of injuries common in road rage car accidents include:
Like other car accidents, road rage victims could be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. Under Illinois personal injury law, you can pursue a settlement if someone’s reckless or negligent actions have hurt you.
Road rage definitely fits the description of a reckless act. To prove you deserve a settlement from the driver responsible for your injuries, you’ll have to prove they were negligent. Legally, negligence means the person who caused the accident did so because they acted outside the normal scope of expected behavior.
In road rage terms, that means their erratic and dangerous driving breached the duty of care they owed their fellow drivers. Whenever someone uses a vehicle, they agree to drive in a manner that will keep everyone safe. If their dangerous driving causes an accident, you must prove their actions caused your injuries. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to support your claims.
Illinois drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage. After an accident, you can file a claim with the aggressive driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer can help you communicate with the insurance company’s adjusters. They’ll ensure you’re getting fair treatment and an adequate offer.
Insurance companies are businesses. They are trying to make money for their shareholders. They’ll look for ways to avoid paying you what you’re owed. That might include blaming you for the accident. Illinois follows a comparative negligence law. Your settlement could be reduced by the amount of blame you share for an accident. If you have more than 50% responsible for an accident, you won’t be able to pursue a claim at all. Your attorney can help you as you pursue compensation for your losses.
The losses you can recover will vary after a road rage crash. You’ll need to work with your lawyer to recover your lost damages. They can help you calculate the damage you received in the crash, totaling your economic and non-economic damages.
Your economic losses are the out-of-pocket expenses you’ve experienced. That can include your medical bills, lost wages, or property damage. Your non-economic damages are the expenses you’ve experienced because of the crash. They can be challenging to calculate because they are conceptual: there is no set rate for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced from a road rage accident.
Your attorney can explain what damages you can pursue in a personal injury claim after you’re hurt in a road rage accident. Each case is unique, but you deserve compensation if someone else caused your accident.
In Illinois, you may be able to file a claim for punitive damages against the aggressive driver. These claims are not designed to help you get back on your feet. They are meant to punish the other driver. They serve as an example to other road-raging drivers and should dissuade other drivers from acting so recklessly.
Punitive damages are rare. Your road rage accident lawyer must determine if they are appropriate for your case.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are about 8.2 million registered drivers in Illinois. There’s a high chance you’ll encounter an aggressive driver. It isn’t on you to police their driving, but you should try to mitigate their reason for targeting you.
When you meet an aggressive and agitated driver, the best thing to do is to remain calm. Try your best to prevent a further escalation of the situation. Reducing the risk of a serious accident is a priority.
Regardless of who initiated the disturbance, you should try to steer clear of the other vehicle and avoid eye contact with the aggressor. If necessary, you can exit the road and find an alternative route.
Contact the police immediately if a driver begins threatening you with imminent harm or the use of a firearm.
Road rage incidents can be traumatizing, even when you aren’t injured. If they lead to an injury-causing collision, you should not go through the insurance process alone. The road rage accident injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., can help recover what you’re owed.
We’ve helped people hurt by reckless drivers across Illinois get the settlements they need to move forward. We’ll help you file your claim or lawsuit, gather the evidence you need to get the most available and keep you up to date throughout the insurance process.
When you’re fighting for maximum compensation, we know what it takes to get it.
We’re ready to fight for you. We’re ready to be your ally. And we’re ready to start right now. Don’t waste time, contact our law offices today.FREE CASE EVALUATION – (312) 236-2900
Serious injuries don’t happen on a 9-to-5 schedule, which is why we are always available to help if you have been hurt. Our team is available around the clock to provide the support you need.