Where Does Liability Fall for a Road Rage Incident?


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Sometimes people get angry with other drivers on the road. Sometimes that anger can lead to doing stupid things. When one person acts aggressively towards another because of a disagreement while they are both driving, it is referred to as road rage. Road rage incidents are occurring with increased frequency. The fast-paced lifestyle that people live today can build up a lot of stress and some folks are not able to handle the stress while they are out on the road. A road rage incident can easily escalate to either assault, or battery, or both. Assault and battery are both criminal offenses. Any party who commits them can be charged, found guilty, and convicted of a crime that will require jail time, so keep your anger in check on the road. Simply placing someone into a reasonable fear of immediate danger is assault, so don’t make threats. A simple unwanted touch can be battery, if you are in a hostile engagement with another person, do not poke or prod them in any way. If you have been a victim of these crimes, you actually have two different ways to recover. The first is to press criminal charges. Many people do not know this, but a criminal judge can actually order the convicted offender to pay restitution to the victim. Criminal restitution could get the victim’s medical bills paid, and possibly lost wages as well. Restitution is the criminal justices system to attempt to pay victims for their special damages. That system does not work well in Southern Utah. If you are looking to recover a decent amount of money, do not count on the criminal court. Move to your next option. That's why hiring an auto accident attorney in so critical, there are many things you just don't know unless you deal with it on an everyday basis.


Regardless of whether or not you choose to actually press criminal charges, you can also sue the offender in civil court. That is where you may have the ability to recover your losses. The ceiling on your recovery is extremely high in this instance because assault and battery are both intentional torts. A tort is a civil wrong, it is an action that someone can sue over. When someone’s bad actions are intentional or malicious, instead of just negligent or careless, punitive damages become an available remedy. Punitive damages are different than most classes of damages because most classes of damages are considered “compensatory.” Compensatory damages are there to compensate the plaintiff for losses, punitive damages exist solely to punish the defendant and to further deter him or her from future bad actions. It is possible that by adding up the special, general, and punitive damages, a victim could be awarded an enormous sum in a civil lawsuit. The other good news is that it is much easier to win in civil court than criminal because the standard is far lower. Civil court requires on a preponderance of evidence standard, as opposed to criminal court where the beyond a reasonable doubt standard must be reached. The big downfall of filing a lawsuit in these instances is that most folks who are ignorant enough to go around assaulting people are not intelligent enough to have earned much money in their lives. The offender may be judgment proof, meaning that you can win a huge award against them, but it will be impossible to ever collect anything because they have nothing. Their auto insurance will never kick in to pay for them because auto insurance policies explicitly exempt the insurer from responsibility for intentional actions.


Some people are hesitant to stand up for themselves after they have been injured by the negligence of another, if someone hurts you intentionally; you have no reason to wait. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Southern Utah right away so you can discuss your options.