Chicago Road Rage Accident Lawyer | Staver
Car Accidents

Chicago Road Rage Accident Lawyers

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.

What is Road Rage?

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:

  • Sudden acceleration
  • Close tailgating
  • Cutting others off in lanes
  • Blocking drivers from passing
  • High-speed chasing
  • Excessive yelling, flashing lights, or honking the horn
  • Rude gestures
  • Verbal abuses and threats
  • Driving recklessly as a form of intimidation
  • Intentionally colliding with vehicles
  • Assaulting other motorists
  • Threat of use or use of firearms
  • Damaging property with force

Road Rage Can Be a Crime  in Illinois

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.

Chicago Car Accidents Caused by Road Rage

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:

  • Rear-end collisions: you could risk a rear-end collision if you’re being tailgated by an angry driver or following one. These collisions could be simple fender-benders, or they could cause severe damage
  • Sideswipe accidents: if an aggressive driver is weaving through traffic, there’s an increased chance they won’t have enough room on one of their lane changes. If they miscalculate, they could quickly swipe into your car. Your car could get damaged, or you could lose control of your vehicle.
  • Head-on collisions: depending on the size of the road you’re traveling, you could easily be hit by a car going the opposite way. If drivers aren’t paying attention as they get mad, they might cross the center line and hit you.
  • T-Bone collisions: also known as side impact crashes, a road rage incident could lead to a T-bone collision. Angry drivers are often impatient; they might hit you at an intersection if they’re not paying attention.
  • Roll-over accidents: An angry driver could force you off the road or cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you can’t maintain your vehicle’s travel, it might roll over.

Injuries from Road Rage Accidents

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:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve injuries
  • Upper or lower back injuries
  • Death

Negligence in Road Rage Accidents

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.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim after a Road Rage Crash

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.

Damages Available in a Road Rage Crash

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.

Punitive Damages in Road Rage Claims

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.

Tips to Avoid Raging Drivers

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.

Call A Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

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.

Get started on your case today. Call (312) 236-2900 or use our online form for a free consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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