Road Rage: A Serious Threat to Driver Safety on Georgia Roads
Many of us have been the victim of a discourteous or aggressive driver who poses a serious risk of causing an automobile accident. Aggressive driving can not only cause accidents but can lead to road rage. The frequency of road rage incidents has grown in recent years often leading to violent attacks that result in deaths or serious injuries to other motorists, pedestrians or bystanders.
Recent estimates suggest that 1,500 people per year are killed or suffer serious injuries in a road rage altercation. Another study indicated that over a recent 6 year period there were more than 10,000 road rage altercations resulting in over 12,000 injuries. Road rage confrontations can result in injuries that range from mild to very serious including severe brain trauma, paralysis, fractures and broken bones, spinal cord injuries and even death. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we represent victims who are violently attacked in road rage incidents on congested Atlanta freeways and throughout the State of Georgia.
While aggressive driving can often lead to violent road rage attacks, the concepts are different. Aggressive driving typically involves intentionally disregarding traffic laws and safety. While such unsafe driving practices often result in auto accidents causing serious injury to other Georgia drivers, there is no specific desire to injure another driver. The accidents caused by an aggressive driver are a result of careless or even reckless behavior, but there is no specific intent to harm another driver. Road rage is not about a driver being reckless or driving unsafe but about the specific desire to harm another person on the road.
Road rage is basically an intentional attack on another person who shares the roadway, such as another driver, pedestrian, bicyclist or innocent bystander. The NHTSA specifically defines road rage as "an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another vehicle, or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway." A principle distinction between aggressive drivers and those who commit road rage offenses is that aggressive drivers typically commit simple traffic offenses (though when that traffic offense causes serious injury it can rise to the level of a criminal offense). A road rage incident, by contrast, is often a criminal assault, battery, or even homicide and is punishable as a criminal offense including jail time.
While road violence or road rage incidents can have many manifestations, some of the most common examples include the following:
- Approaching another driver's vehicle and pounding on the windows
- Trying to ram another vehicle with one's car
- Throwing objects at another vehicle or driver
- Using a weapons, such as, a firearms to threaten another driver
- Trying to run over someone outside the vehicle with one's car
- Shouting threats while trying to run down another driver or cut them off
While a driver may be liable for negligent conduct in causing an auto accident that results in injuries to another driver by engaging in such conduct, the driver may also be subject to criminal prosecution for assault, battery or homicide depending on the facts of the road rage incident. A driver who engages in such action may also be liable for civil damages for assault, battery, false imprisonment or intentional infliction of emotional distress. An experienced Georgia personal injury attorney can help a road rage victim receive damages to compensate the victim for his or her injuries, but the other driver may also be liable for punitive damages. Punitive damages are above and beyond actual damages, and in addition to damages for pain and suffering. They are designed to punish and discourage such unacceptable behavior. A punitive damage award may not only be as large as the damages awarded to compensate a victim but can be much larger then compensatory damages.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a violent road rage attack or any type of accident, the compassionate Georgia accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. We have been helping Georgia residents seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle related incidents, including road rage attacks, for over 35 years. Call Montlick & Associates today to learn how we can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.