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Although the term “road rage” was defined by Los Angeles newscasters years ago, this type of dangerous driving conduct is a nationwide phenomenon. Learning how to avoid getting rammed in a road rage accident is an excellent step to take. But learning how to spot aggressive drivers who engage in dangerous driving behaviors isn’t as easy as you may think, and you must be prepared to take evasive maneuvers.
But sometimes, deadly road confrontations are unavoidable. As a top Ehline Law Firm member, I am exceptionally qualified to discuss road rage accidents. As an award-winning Los Angeles car accident attorney, I have assisted thousands of clients in road traffic-related mishaps in California. Below I will definitively discuss driving during traffic tantrums, also known as “road rage.” I also will include road rage, civil, criminal, and administrative damages, penalties, and consequences. Also covered will be how my team of road rage accident lawyers, investigators, and paralegals will assist you in the road rage accident personal injury legal claims process. Ehline Law Firm has seen many instances of success in proving these cases. We sue civil road rage defendants. Our legal team of road rage accident attorneys will help you better understand how our plaintiff’s lawyers go about proving duties and damages.
Last, our attorneys will detail road rage, statistics, and what we can and can’t do to help. Also included is a discussion over some recent nationwide and Los Angeles road rage in the news. Moreover, all the way through this guide, I am going to explain to you why our superior law firm, with its friendly staff and partners, is the best choice to assist you in getting compensation when personally injured in a “road rage accident.”
So What Exactly Is Los Angeles Road Rage?
Los Angeles journalists created the term road rage. As a result, road rage is synonymous with driving in Los Angeles. As our road rage accident lawyers know, road rage happens in backstreets, and alleys, not just freeways.
And road rage accidents don’t only occur in Greater Los Angeles, California. Let’s look at the modern definition of this term from a road rage accident lawyer’s perspective.
The definition of Road Rage is:
“Aggressive, angry conduct by a vehicle operator navigating the road.”
Such conduct includes but is not limited to impolite, rude gestures, verbal insults, physical threats, or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver to intimidate or release frustration.”
Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions, resulting in serious physical injuries or even death. And most people consider road rage an extreme case of aggressive driving.
“The term originated in the United States in 1987–1988 (specifically, from Newscasters at KTLA, a television station in Los Angeles, California), when a rash of freeway shootings occurred on the Interstate 405, 110, and 10 freeways in Los Angeles. These shooting sprees even spawned a response from the AAA Motor Club to its members on how to respond to drivers with road rage or aggressive maneuvers and gestures. (en)” (Source – DBPedia).
Typically, suppose someone gets injured in a road rage accident they did not cause. In that case, a road rage accident lawyer can assist the survivors with the aftermath and fallout of a deadly, anger-related traffic incident.
Ehline Law Firm works with survivors to protect their rights to personal injury compensation, as discussed below by our road rage accident personal injury lawyer.
More than anything, road rage accidents on California streets, roads, and arteries come about when a vehicle driver’s anger manifests into physical harm. Road safety often gets ignored, as the road rager uses his or her vehicle against other vehicle operators in a fit of rage.
But road rage also includes altercations outside a motor vehicle emanating from hazardous traffic activities. In California, in particular, people behind the wheel in automobiles are so distracted by their phones and other external things that they often upset other drivers behind schedule to get to their destinations.
Sometimes a person can feel slighted by something that was just part of the stop-and-go driving in Los Angeles. When this happens, our Los Angeles road rage accident attorneys can help injured car accident victims get money for their injuries and damages.
What Does California Law Say About Road Rage?
Three main types of law are at play in a road rage case.
Criminal Law. First, there is criminal law. These are penal-type laws passed by the California State Legislature. Primarily, these criminal codes and statutes exist to punish the wrongdoer with fines or imprisonment. The beyond-a-reasonable doubt standard of proof is much higher than for civil or administrative law claims. And this ensures a criminal defendant won’t get wrongly or unjustly imprisoned.
In a criminal prosecution, the State is the victim, and the defendant is called a criminal defendant.
Civil Law. Another type of law at play in a road rage case is civil law. Civil law allows civil plaintiffs to sue individual bad actors for monetary compensation as civil defendants under negligence or intentional tort theory.
The courts available to sue are small claims, limited jurisdiction, or Unlimited Jurisdiction, Superior Courts in the California State Court system.
Althoughpunitive damages are sometimes availableas an extraordinary component of a motor vehicle accident case in civil court, they are held to a clear and convincing evidence standard. So here, a court or jury decides your ordinary damages for pain, suffering, and economic losses. And the lessened burden would be the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Either way, in a civil case, the goal is to hire a superior personal injury attorney to maximize your settlement or verdict against a civil defendant. Self-representation is statistically proven to be a lousy idea insofar as recovering the maximum compensation, even after paying back the attorney’s fees and costs.
Administrative Law. Administrative remedies are a form of civil remedy outside of criminal or civil court, for example. Getting three points on your driving record could force you to appear before an administrative hearing officer at the California DMV. You can bring a defense lawyer to defend and make verbal objections on your behalf. Also, you still are entitled to notice and opportunity. But at issue is not your money or your life; instead, what is at a point is whether the state will do something on your behalf or take away a license or privilege not considered a fundamental right. As an aside, if you lose your case, you can appeal your lost case to a civil Superior Court or, possibly, directly to a State Court of Appeal.
Penal Code Section 9 covers how to obtain a civil default against a traffic ticket and other remedies when there is no corpus delicti or damaged party.
The Vehicle Code decides most road rage administrative action in a road rage case, discussed below.
Below you will learn from an Ehline Law Firm attorney about the primary road rage laws affecting civil and criminal victims. And we will also cover the rights, roles, and obligations of plaintiffs and defendants.
And you will also discover how to get the most compensation as a plaintiff in a California State-based road rage accident.
1. What Are The Main Criminal Laws Used To Punish Or Imprison Road Rage Defendants?
As a civil negligence law office, Ehline Law Firm does not handle criminal prosecutions. After a person causes a road rage crash, the criminal consequences will vary based on the public and private property and individual crime victims’ damage.
Harsher penalties exist if someone is maimed, killed, or disabled significantly.
Below are some examples of rules used to criminally charge and prosecute road rage suspects accused of this conduct. In other words, a Los Angeles road rage accident attorney is someone who sues the person who hurt you. The prosecutor alone has the power to fine or jail a road rager.
Vehicle Code Section 23103
California Vehicle Code Section 2103 (“Reckless driving“) states:
“(a) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) A person who drives a vehicle in an off-street parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. (c) Except as otherwise provided in Section 40008, persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104 (up to 6 months jail – a misdemeanor) or 23105 (6 months jail max, or sentence enhancement of a year or more in jail – felony (See also Penal Code Section 1170).” [Emphasis].
As seen above, this charge, when resulting in a conviction, could result in as little as a few days in jail, a fine, or up to 90 days in prison if the person protected under the statute is harmed severely; other harsher penalties found in Vehicle Codes Sections 23104 or 23105, et seq.
When Does Penal Code Section 1170 Enhance Vehicle Code Section 23105 Into A Felony?
Penal Code Section 1170(a)(1) states:
“The Legislature finds and declares that the purpose of sentencing is public safety achieved through punishment, rehabilitation, and restorative justice. When a sentence includes incarceration, this purpose is best served by terms that are proportionate to the seriousness of the offense with provision for uniformity in the sentences of offenders committing the same offense under similar circumstances.“
Let me help explain what this means as an attorney translating to layman’s terms.
Penal Code Section 1171(a)(1) means that the punishment should fit the crime. If you severely injure or kill someone, your sentence could be greater than the six months allowed under the vehicle code. In other words, all crimes involving a year or more in prison can result in jail or prison of a year or longer. A criminal road rage defendant’s sentence could be enhanced, and here’s why.
California Vehicle Code, Section 23015.
“(a) A person convicted of reckless driving in violation of Section 23103 that proximately causes one or more of the injuries specified in subdivision (b) to a person other than the driver, shall be punished by imprisonment according to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, or by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(b) This section applies to all of the following injuries:
(1) A loss of consciousness.
(2) A concussion.
(3) A bone fracture.
(4) A protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
(5) A wound requiring extensive suturing.
(6) A severe disfigurement.
(7) Brain injury.
(c) This section does not preclude or prohibit prosecution under any other provision of law.”
As shown above, when a criminal defendant inflicts more than superficial injuries and instead causes severe injuries to a person, such as a brain injury, extensive need for sutures, bone fractures, gunshot and knife wounds, etc. The accused road ragers face serious prison times and may forever be branded as a convicted felon if found guilty. However, this does nothing to get a wounded victim or survivor of a wrongful death paid anything other than a small restitution payment from a busy, overworked criminal trial court.
Again, that is why customers look to the authoritative and helpful Ehline Law Firm to handle all their legal needs happily. Let’s look at some other charges road rage drivers can face from the People of the State of California after losing control of anger while they are driving dangerously in traffic.
California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) – “Assault With a Deadly Weapon.”
Commonly known as an assault with a deadly weapon charge, this is a crime that can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor under similar terms as the above Vehicle Code Section 23105.
“(a) (1) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment. (2) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than six months and not exceeding one year, or by both a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and imprisonment.
(3) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a machine-gun, as defined in Section 16880, or an assault weapon, as defined in Section 30510 or 30515, or a .50 BMG rifle, as defined in Section 30530, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 8, or 12 years.
(4) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
(b) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a semiautomatic firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or nine years.
(c) Any person who commits an assault with a deadly weapon or instrument, other than a firearm, or by any means likely to produce great bodily injury upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or five years.
(d) (1) Any person who commits an assault with a firearm upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for four, six, or eight years.
(2) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter with a semiautomatic firearm and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years.
(3) Any person who commits an assault with a machine-gun, as defined in Section 16880, or an assault weapon, as defined in Section 30510 or 30515, or a .50 BMG rifle, as defined in Section 30530, upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 6, 9, or 12 years.
(e) When a person is convicted of a violation of this section in a case involving the use of a deadly weapon or instrument or firearm, and the weapon or instrument or firearm is owned by that person, the court shall order that the weapon or instrument or firearm be deemed a nuisance. It shall be confiscated and disposed of in the manner provided by Sections 18000 and 18005. (f) As used in this section, “peace officer” refers to any person designated as a peace officer in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2.”
Penal Code Section 245(a) explained for a road rage case.
To help you understand better, any road rage conduct that is not enhanced into a felony subject the criminal road rage defendants punishable up to a year in County Jail (like Twin Towers in L.A.), typically as a misdemeanor. Any confinement over a year would be a felony, requiring imprisonment in a state correctional facility, such as Chino State Correctional Facility.
And although your road rage accident lawyer won’t be handling the criminal prosecution, he or she can assist in providing evidence and other information to help in the criminal case against the person that harmed you. All it takes is to call the superior lawyer at Ehline Law Firm by dialing (213) 596-9642.
Particular Problem – Wounding Law Enforcement Personnel With Your Car Can Land You In Prison for YEARS!
Notably, in addition to being charged with Penal Code Section 148, a road rage defendant could face even greater felony charges under the above section. Be advised this can occur if a criminal road rage defendant crashes or causes a collision with a readily identifiable police officer or firefighter, EMT, etc., such as in a high-speed chase.
California Penal Code Section 187 – Felony Murder.
Homicide is not always murder, and murder is still a homicide. Let me explain. Homicide, which is killing a human being by another, may be justified in many cases. For example, if you get attacked while walking with your baby carriage by an assailant with a weapon, like a knife, and you shoot the assailant dead, this is a classic example of a justifiable homicide based upon self-defense.
What if you are out walking with your baby, pushing the carriage, and pull out your gun, and you start shooting people indiscriminately? What if you kill someone. In that case, that is an unjustifiable homicide or a “murder.” There are many different degrees or classifications of murder in California and other states and even federal courts.
In this case, if the road rage accident or collision kills someone with no justification, California Penal Code Section 187 governs the definitions and penalties to the criminal defendant. Since the Penal Code is a criminal section of the law, the expert lawyers at Ehline Law Firm would not handle that aspect of that related legal action. Again, our staff remains committed to assisting you with the civil law aspects of your situation.
In contrast to murder, a wrongful death involves a civil plaintiff’s lawyer filing a tort claim for money damages against the civil defendant for the negligent or intentional killing. In a murder case, the accused may face the death penalty or life in prison. The Los Angeles road rage accident attorneys at our illustrious, decorated law firm are professionals in handling all aspects of wrongful death and personal injury claims.
That is what materially distinguishes us from a D.A, A.G, or other prosecutorial agents.
The most extreme sentence a road rage criminal defendant can receive is under Penal Code Section 187, which states:
“(a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.
(b) This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:
(1) The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2 (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.
(2) The act was committed by a holder of a physician’s and surgeon’s certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be the death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not.
(3) The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the fetus’s mother. (c) Subdivision (b) shall not be construed to prohibit the prosecution of any person under any other provision of law.”
The bottom line is that people can die when someone loses their temper behind the wheel and manifests their feelings into physical acts. That covers what you need to know about most road rage cases. However, keep in mind that the Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles, or even the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Offices, will decide what to put in their formal, verified complaint.
And keep in mind that they can always amend the charges or even add additional costs, such as those mentioned above, if the jury finds a defendant not guilty of another offense. And last, understand that even if a criminal defendant is acquitted criminally, he is not “innocent,” and he remains subject to intentional civil tort and wrongful death claims under the theory of negligence.
2. How Can I Get Paid Under Civil Tort Laws For My Road RageCase?
Getting paid damages in a road rage case means proving that the defendant owed you a duty not to go after you and that absent some justification, he or she breached that duty, causing you actual damages under a legal theory known as tort law.
Why Do I Owe Someone A Duty If I Didn’t Sign Anything?
Good question. A road rage defendant did not enter into an express contract with the other party. Some contracts can become implied by conduct, license, acts in furtherance, or acts in reliance, and so forth. But the law we are discussing here is not standard contract law. Most of all, this so-called contract remains an existing duty so you can and move among others in an open and safe society.
Your Duty Not To Breach The Reasonable Duty Of Care Is Akin To A “Social Contract.”
No, it’s not a contract per se. It is a duty that exists for all people. Since the days of tribes, Reichs, religions, and even covens, it has been a universal duty. Even a hermit will naturally subject him or herself to a duty of reasonable care. When a grown man or woman hears a baby cry, we will feel the infant’s fear and be urged to assist and soothe their cries unless we have a mental disorder. So too, all humans instinctively know to be caring for victims and not to create victims. Moreover, the duty isn’t an express agreement between the parties to the accident. Instead, the common law duty owed under tort law is a social contract designed to keep people careless for others’ safety. It is akin to a social code of basic civility and extending niceties.
Don’t Confuse Good Manners With Being A Good Citizen.
A person with good manners naturally will avoid placing others in harm. A person observing a reasonable duty of care does so as a matter of good citizenship. Bad citizens like road rage drivers get sued or go to jail. Good citizens have children, try and leave them more material and emotional resources than they had, and build a legacy.
No, I am not saying you have to get out of your municipal passenger bus seat for a lady. I do that because my father taught me “good manners.” No, that would be rude to allow her to stand as a matter of true chivalry. Upholding a social duty of fair play is a duty we all owe each other not to endanger the economy, family, and society as a whole.
Common law duties are more about keeping your eyes on the road, not pushing people out of your way, etc. Moreover, negligence has been codified as California civil law to help courts and juries better understand. Alas, some people have emotional conditions and other medically diagnosed and undiagnosed problems. Sometimes this can cause them to breach their duty and cause harm.
Other times, people are plain reckless or drunk and deliberately try and run your car off the road or shoot at you. These are socially deviant road ragers. Moreover, individuals like this remain deplorable in society. Road rage is in the category of just plain crazy. The first step in getting paid for road rage injuries is proving that a social duty of good conduct was breached.
Our Los Angeles road rage accident lawyers understand how to establish this duty as legal experts in civil negligence law. Let’s take a look at California Civil Code Section 1714 to understand better the duties owed and the damages and remedies available to a road rage traffic accident.
California Civil Code Section 1714 States:
“(a) Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself. The design, distribution, or marketing of firearms and ammunition is not exempt from the duty to use ordinary care and skill required by this section. The Title on Compensatory Relief defines the extent of liability in these cases.
(b) the Legislature intends to abrogate the holdings in cases such as Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, Bernhard v. Harrah’s Club (1976) 16 Cal.3d 313, and Coulter v. Superior Court (1978) 21 Cal.3d 144 and to reinstate the prior judicial interpretation of this section as it relates to proximate cause for injuries incurred as a result of furnishing alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person, namely that the furnishing of alcoholic beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries resulting from intoxication, but rather the consumption of alcoholic beverages is the proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an intoxicated person.
(c) Except as provided in subdivision (d), no social host who furnishes alcoholic beverages to any person may be held legally accountable for damages suffered by that person, or for injury to the person or property of, or death of, any third person, resulting from the consumption of those beverages.
(d) (1) Nothing in subdivision (c) shall preclude a claim against a parent, guardian, or another adult who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages at his or her residence to a person whom he or she knows, or should have known, to be under 21 years of age, in which case, notwithstanding subdivision (b), the furnishing of the alcoholic beverage may be found to be the proximate cause of resulting injuries or death.
(2) A claim under this subdivision may be brought by, or on behalf of, the person under 21 years of age or by a person who was harmed by the person under 21 years of age.”
The primary civil method of resolving a car accident insurance claim, road rage aside, is to hire a lawyer who negotiates with the insurer representing the person that harmed you with a road rage offense. If we cannot settle and get your money from the insurer, we sue under a combination of intentional tort and negligence law discussed more here. Then, the insurance company for the person that hit you appoints an insurance defense attorney for the alleged road rager.
What Remedies Exist Besides Money Payments That Can Keep Me Safe From A Road Rager?
Because rage incidents seem to have their nexus in everyday happenstance, the key is to avoid actions while driving, causing a person to respond aggressively. Anything that would cause you to erupt in anger will likely cause another to react similarly to their emotions.
But some people can’t control it, so don’t assume they will just write off what you just did in the heat of the moment.
Many will act out and attack you with their car, big rig truck, or even a school bus. So beware.
Below are some helpful tips to stay safe and prevent a road rage traffic collision or wrongful death.
For one, be careful when driving.
Don’t provoke others.
Don’t cut people off. For example, when you merge into a lane or onto a freeway or roadway, use your mirrors and look around.
Don’t tailgate or follow a slowpoke driver too closely. Sometimes gang bangers and others have initiation rights, including shooting or maiming people they feel disrespected while out “cruising.”
Never flip people off with your middle finger or with some other obscene gesture.
Don’t drive slowly in the fast lane.
Don’t speed up when another vehicle wishes to pass your vehicle.
Be polite and courteous to other users of the road.
Additionally, the AAA Foundation suggests trying not to pay attention to the person behaving aggressively, such as honking, screaming, or blowing their top.
Avoid making gestures like rolling your eyes, etc., and refuse to engage in a battle that can only escalate into bloodshed. Most of all, stay away from angry drivers. These people could easily veer into your car or snap and rear-end you at high speed.
Last, common sense dictates that you never pull over to the shoulder.
Moreover, this can be seen as a challenge to fight. The safest bet is to slow down, get behind some other cars, and maintain a significant distance behind the other driver.
Creating space and distance may very well be enough to avoid a terrible car accident with an aggressive person. AAA suggests getting help from someone if you cannot call the police, such as in an area with no cell phone signal.
If you are being chased or cajoled during night time driving, this can be a severe matter than daylight hours.
There is a higher likelihood the other person is high on illegal narcotics or alcohol. Don’t risk a deadly confrontation with these dangerous road users.
Get yourself to a place of safety where there are masses of people around to witness the uncomfortable event and potentially offer you a haven. Suggestions for safe areas are convenience stores and gas service stations.
What Are Some Common Ways Road Rage Can Escalate?
What Does Medical Science Say About Road Ragers?
Historically, anger has been a primary manipulation method in society to attain social influence. Ancient philosophers discussed anger in terms of it being bad for the soul and being self-consuming.
‘Against wrath his help shall be,if he has grace in heart to see,how angels, should his anger rise,flee fast from him and goand demons run to him in haste;hell’s fury burns his heartand makes him so hot and highthat none may stand him nigh.’ – John Mirk
For better or worse, anger remains an emotion involving a deep, wearisome, and emotional reaction to a real or imagined act of provocation. Once the actor feels threatened or cajoled, this person will feel their comfort and safety zone have been unfairly penetrated.
Lashing out is a common reaction that has been reinforced by a tendency or disposition learned or inherited by our mentors.
Some, especially narcissists, look to retaliate as a coping mechanism. But not all anger is bad. Getting angry can help you separate yourself from people who make you mad.
After all, anger raises your blood pressure and can lead to hypertension, an adrenaline rush, or early death. In many ways, anger can help you create boundaries to keep a whole plethora of negativity from your life.
Unlike the older psychological studies dealing with anger, modern science also considers the adverse effects of suppressing or bottling up anger.
The issue here is that anger can suddenly be released while someone is behind the wheel of a large automobile.
The three types of anger at play in road rage are:
In support of the above statements about anger, UC Irvine’s expert Doctor Raymond Novaco, laminated anger into three styles as follows:
Somatic-affective (tension and agitation).
Behavioral (withdrawal and antagonism).
Irrational anger was a favorite topic of Novaco. And it is mainly this type of anger that takes place during a road rage incident.
William DeFoore, a world-famous anger-management writer, generally described anger as a “pressure cooker we can only apply.” But as noted, anger is not always destructive if it can be channeled and released safely.
Because so many cars crowd the road and since Americans are very busy, the stress of commuting can make them quickly boil over with anger about minor annoyances on the highway. When another driver reacts and makes it a contest, human nature is for people to win.
Moreover, this can make these types of incidents quickly escalate as people can spin out of control. In some cases, only one driver will act angrily. In other cases, he or she may be the driver engaging in road rage against someone else.
Anger, Death, And Serious Injury?
Road rage incidents have been reported to result in severe accidents and even deaths. In some cases, people have been shot and killed in such incidents. It is essential to be aware of how dangerous road rage can be and to avoid it at all costs.
Besides the state suspending the driving privileges or the road rage defendant, a victim can seek other methods or remedies to stay safe from the mentally ill individual who attacked you with their car.
Several remedies remain available to road rage victims, including injunctive relief:
Also available are money damages. However, sometimes the criminal’s insurance won’t help pay you, such as in cases of hit-and-run accidents, where the defendant has fled the scene for whatever number of inexcusable excuses.
How Can Ehline Law Firm Get Me Money Damages For My Road Rage Accident Case?
First of all, we put our experience to work for you. Ehline Law Firm has years of experience in Los Angeles car accident cases, including road rage-related deaths and severe injury lawsuits. Our attorneys have won multiple peer and client awards, accolades, and peer reviews. For example, Michael Ehline holds Newsweek’s “Premier Personal Injury Attorneys” distinction.
Moreover, our experienced Ehline Law Firm holds the esteemed LA Times Magazine’s “Personal Injury Litigator’s” recognition. Hollywood Weekly Magazine voted Michael Ehline Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year. Ehline also distinguishes being a multiple Super Lawyers Rising Star award recipient and has a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum Award.
Less than 1% of lawyers hold these titles. As noted above, if we can prove that the road rage defendant violated their duty, the next step is determining if the damages you sustained would have been foreseeable due to the road rage confrontation.
If the harm you sustained, like a brain injury from being broadsided by a road rager, is likely to happen in a high-speed impact collision, for example, we move on to the next step.
Assuming We Can Show Your Damages Were Unavoidable and Foreseeable, We Seek Damages And Restitution For The Road Rage Victim. Damages are for things like your motorcycle, bicycle, or even the clothes you wore when the road rager attacked and tried to kill you.
They also cover things like hospital bills and future care for disabilities like brain damage or severe spinal cord injuries.
How do road rage personal injury lawyers prove damages?
Proving damages will be based upon a combination of your work preserving and gathering evidence and Ehline Law Firm’s superior ability to find more evidence and develop that evidence into enough proof to meet the plaintiff’s preponderance of the evidence burden in a negligence case.
Even if the evidence we find before trial is hearsay or inadmissible, our experience and training can help us find other evidence that would be admissible and helpful.
But without a lawyer doing this for you, you sometimes can miss on damages but win on liability, for example. For that reason, we work to ensure we have everything we need before moving to a full-blown jury trial.
Proving damages means hiring the right expert witnesses to testify the cause of the accident and your injuries. Sometimes the road rager will try and blame you, for example.
A biomechanical or accident reconstructionist will often be retained to prove who caused the collision. Ehline Law Firm will often hire medical experts to determine the cause and reasons for your predicament.
What Are Some Common Road Rage Injuries In Los Angeles?
Puncture wounds and cavitation from gunshot wounds.
Head and brain injuries from physical attacks or vehicle collisions.
What Types of Damages Are Available For A Los Angeles Road Rage Victim?
There are three main types of damages available as follows:
Economic Damages are available to cover surgeries and hospital expenses and other past, present, and future expenses, lost salary, etc.
Pain And Suffering Damages are for things like constant pain, fear, and other emotion-based problems associated with getting in a wreck with a road rage driver.
Punitive Damages are available for super-aggressive, reckless for intentional conduct that leads to severe injuries and death. As noted above, it has a higher burden to prove it, and your Los Angeles car accident attorneys will likely be against it. This is because insurance usually does not cover intentional acts. Our goal is to get you paid, not get you an uncollectable money judgment.
A road rage injury lawyer’s job in Los Angeles is to deal with everything for you in your civil case, from calling your insurance adjuster to filing the lawsuit in the proper Los Angeles judicial district.
Hiring the right personal injury attorney means finding someone who is a good listener, like our superb road rage accident lawyers. If you are ready to hire a lawyer now or want to discuss your road rage collision, we offer a free case review in confidentiality.
We can meet in person or tell you right over the phone whether or not you have a case we can take. Call us, and we won’t charge you for our time. Our local Los Angeles injury hotline is (213) 596-9642.
3. What Main Administrative Law Decides A Road Rager’s Loss Of Driving Privileges?
Vehicle Code Section 13210 is where the main administrative rules are associated with the Department of Motor Vehicle’s suspending a road rager’s license. In short, it establishes that: “The suspension period…[for] ‘road rage’ shall be six months for a first offense and one year for a second or subsequent offense.” To recap, if a road rager is automatically suspended, they can request an administrative hearing.
An automatic revocation is typically when a driver is arrested for a DUI. And this is the same procedure the hearing officer follows for dangerous, crazy drivers. The road rager needs to prove he or she is of sound enough mind to drive correctly.
These negligence operator hearings can be appealed, as discussed above. The criminal courts often work in tandem with the DMV to keep road ragers off the streets.
Los Angeles And Road Rage Confrontations.
As noted above, Los Angeles, California, is a known hot spot for road rage, hit-and-run drivers, and high-speed police cruiser chases. Congested roads abound on its surface streets, freeways, highways, and other arteries of vehicle travel.
Everyone has somewhere to go, and traffic impedes getting to their destination quickly and in one piece. To better help you understand, Ehline Law Firm has done additional research on road rage in popular culture.
Here Are a Few Examples of Recent Road Rage Incidents in Los Angeles News Reports:
“David Zulalyan of Van Nuys was taken into custody Monday night on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after video showed him behind the wheel of a white sedan ramming a pickup truck at Victory and Laurel Canyon boulevards, LAPD Officer Lizeth Lomeli said.” (Source – LA Times).
“Police are seeking the public’s help identifying the suspects responsible for severely injuring a man who has yet to regain consciousness following a road rage incident caught on video.” “LAPD detectives say the victim stopped at a red light facing south on Woodman Avenue at Victory Boulevard around 9:30 p.m. January 1, 2020, when the suspect vehicle began following him.” “Video of the incident shows one of the suspects punching the victim once in the head, causing the victim to fall to the ground unconscious.” (Source – CBSLocal.Com).
“Wheatley said he tried to pass the SUV to get away from the agitated driver, but his bike handle scraped the side of her vehicle. He pulled over onto the sidewalk, and the woman got out of her car, swatting at the camera on Wheatley’s helmet.” “Really we just need better infrastructure and better bike lane systems so this sort of thing doesn’t happen,” … As for the woman, she pled guilty to battery and was sentenced to 450 hours of community service.” (Source – CBSLocal.Com).
As noted above, it’s not just people in cars who get attacked. And it’s not always a car that is used as a deadly weapon. Again, to recap, do not pull over, and do not get out of the vehicle until you have reached an open, safe area with people, preferably police, nearby. As noted in the news snippets, road rage motorists can be triggered by any external and internal emotions arising from the nasty traffic conditions. As you probably guessed, roadway aggression remains much more severe in dense, bumper-to-bumper traffic situations.
Moreover, millions of vehicle drivers yearly crashes on our nation’s roadways, even in less congested locations. Anytime a vehicle is used as a deadly weapon, terrible injuries are sure to follow and even kill people. Anger or wrath is an intense emotional response.
What Are the National Road Rage Statistics?
The data captured below is based upon a recent AAA study culled from 2,705 motor vehicle operators nationwide 16 years of age and older who had used the roads in the last 30 days per month. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:
Approximately 80% of U.S. autoists reported severe anger or engaging in aggressive road rage one time or more in their last year driving.
Approximately eight million individuals acted out, exhibiting frightening road rage behavior. (Examples included operators or occupants pulling over, exiting their vehicle and confronting, or assaulting others, simply ramming into people, objects, and other cars sharing the roads.
Just yesterday in Queens, NY, as of the day this article is written, a terrible mishap occurred when a car driver “crazy from cocaine” hit a pedestrian with the front of his car and drove his car through a bakery pane glass window.
Internationally, road rage has gained notoriety as well.
“The Quiapo road rage incident occurred on the night of 25 July 2016 in the street of Quiapo, Manila, Philippines when the car driver, who later identified by the police as Vhon Martin Tanto — a former army reservist, fatally shot bicyclist named Mark Vincent Garalde following an apparent road rage incident and seriously wounded the 18-year-old bystander that rendered critical condition. Four days after the incident, the authorities apprehended Tanto in Masbate and his car – Hyundai Eon – used during the incident found by the police in Nueva Vizcaya. (en)” (Source – DBPedia Abstract of Quiapo road rage incident).
What Else Does the AAA Foundation Road Rage Study Tell Us?
Autoists, ages 19 through 39, and biological men, as in all life cases, tend to be more aggressive, assertive, and careless than women. As a result, generally, males have a three times greater chance of antagonizing other drivers, whereas females tend to withdraw and de-escalate. And Southern California biological males are no different.
Around 214 million registered vehicle operators and about 101 million drivers have tailgated other vehicles on purpose due to anger. Many of these aggressive drivers reside in Sunny, California.
Around 3% of those, say 5.7 million drivers, admitted they slammed on their brakes or bumped into other cars in a fit of rage. To be realistic, this is not a drunk driving “accident.” This isn’t very nice, intentional conduct, and it is generally not covered under California liability insurance.
Approximately 7.6 million drivers admitted to exiting their motor vehicle to confront another driver they were upset with physically.
Around 24% of motorists reported attempts at preventing other vehicles from making a lane switch.
Approximately 12% of drivers admitted they intentionally cut off another car.
Other motorists engaged in angry gesturing, loud honking, screaming, and yelling at other cars when they got mad.
As a Los Angeles road rage accident attorney, I find these numbers to be a little low. And AAA also reported that many people probably shy away from admitting their pernicious driving behaviors.
As a result, these numbers are probably more significant than the indignant car driver statistics shown above. As an aside, angry people are crossest during the initial confrontation until it is less of a threat. So don’t enrage someone who is already red in the face with choler.
Literature, news reports, and studies indicate that road rage incidents are dangerous and deadly. These irate, fuming driving behaviors can be from drugged-out losers and people with emotional issues, such as military combat vets suffering from PTSD.
Moreover, outbursts while driving could come from any combination of the above types of suspects.
Road rage victims can include motorcycle riders, bicyclists, pedestrians, children playing near the roads, and many other innocent people. Road rage injuries can consist of broken bones, brain injuries, or even death. Moreover, using a vehicle is not the only way a violent driver can hurt victims.
Often the parties pull over to the side of the road, get out of their cars, and wind up in a physical altercation. There are criminal, civil, and administrative consequences for the wrongdoer. For the road rager, excuses like “I was pissed off” to the police or a judge won’t get you any leeway. For victims, getting to a safe place and avoiding any type of conduct that will enrage another driver is paramount to staying safe while navigating the streets.
Personal Injury Attorneys can help get injured road rage victims money damages, restitution, and other equitable relief forms. That’s what the Ehline Law Firm does to make its clients whole. Moreover, Los Angeles, in particular, is famous for road rage collisions. But nationwide, as seen in the Queens bakery incident, road rage is a problem everywhere.
Should I Contact A Personal Injury Attorney For My Road Rage Accident Related Personal Injury?
Yes. As noted above, a road rage lawyer at Ehline Law Firm can get you more for your case. But make sure you hire us because we that the experience, authority, and trust maximize your competition.
Moreover, our partners and firm members will attentively listen to your problems and offer satisfying solutions. Also, the Ehline Law Firm has amassed over $100 Million for its satisfied clients. So if you or someone you love became seriously injured due to a psychopathic, aggressive road rage driver, we could assist you in the legal process.
As you grieve and recover, we will guide your case and help with evidence gathering and monitoring your medical care and treatment. Suppose we cannot settle your thoroughfare exasperation case against the bad actor. In that case, our illustrious, victorious Los Angeles road rage collision attorneys will help you file a civil lawsuit in a courthouse near you.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Road Rage Accident Lawyers in Los Angeles
Ehline Law Firm will aggressively hold the other party accountable for their behavior and seek a windfall payout for you! Moreover, the free case reviews our road rage accident attorney gives you are confidential. Moreover, our call comes with no obligation to hire us. Make the call, and we’ll do it all! Use our online contact form, or telephone us now at (213) 596-9642. Let us help you win substantial compensation for your pain, suffering, and emotional distress. We also offer cost free, virtual consultations for all new clients.
Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.