Road Rage Accidents
Road rage is a big problem in Los Angeles and elsewhere on California's roads and highways. Road rage is angry or aggressive driving, and it can include verbal insults, offensive gestures, deliberately driving in an unsafe manner (such as tailgating), weaving in and out of traffic, or threatening other drivers. One contributing factor to road rage is traffic congestion. However, sometimes drivers become enraged by another driver's aggressive or angry behavior, leading to an escalation in inappropriate conduct or intentionally reckless behavior. Some of these road rage accidents result in catastrophic injuries and significant property damage. If you are a victim of this type of crash, you should consult the Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Sharifi Firm.Pursuing Compensation for a Road Rage Accident
Most car crashes are the result of negligence. This means that a driver's conduct fell below the appropriate standard of care, causing injuries to a victim. However, road rage accidents may involve not only negligence but also intentional conduct. Intentionally operating a car as a weapon can result in criminal charges.
The standard of proof in criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a higher standard than what you need to prove in civil cases. If you are the victim of a road rage accident, and the other driver is charged with a misdemeanor or felony, but the case is dismissed or the defendant is acquitted, it does not necessarily mean that recovery in a civil lawsuit is out of the question. This is because there is a lower standard of proof in this type of claim, known as the “preponderance of the evidence.”
In a civil case arising out of a road rage accident, you may allege not only negligence but also assault and battery. Assault occurs when there is a reasonable apprehension of being struck by another party. For example, if a driver is tailgating you on the freeway and following you when you switch lanes, shouting obscenities at you, this may be assault. Battery occurs when there is a harmful or offensive touching of someone else without consent. Using the same scenario, if the other party actually rear-ends you or runs you off the road with a vehicle, this may constitute battery.
If you are able to establish the defendant's liability, you may be able to recover general and special damages. The former can include scarring or disfigurement, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment. The latter may include economic costs and losses like medical expenses, property damage, household services, lost income, and lost earning capacity.
Under California Civil Code Section 3294, punitive damages may be awarded if a plaintiff can prove with clear and convincing evidence that the defendant engaged in malice, oppression, or fraud. "Malice" exists when a defendant intends to cause harm or acts in a way that shows a willful, conscious disregard of someone else’s rights. It may be appropriate to ask for punitive damages in a civil assault and battery case.Consult a Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
At Sharifi Firm, APC, our Los Angeles lawyers can help you seek compensation for the harm that you have suffered. We have experience, determination, and a strong base of resources, and we can put these to work for you. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or use our online form to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. We also represent accident victims in San Bernardino, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, and Temecula, among other Southern California cities.