Road rage and aggressive driving can take many dangerous forms. It might involve speeding, swerving, cutting off another driver with an abrupt lane change, “brake checking” (slamming on brakes in front of a tailgater to dissuade the tailgater from following too closely), passing on the shoulder or excessive use of a car horn or headlights/high-beams. Regrettably, road rage can also lead to auto accidents and serious injuries, including fatalities. Certainly, the best course of action when facing an aggressive driver is to avoid that person. If you cannot, and if you are injured in a road rage-related accident, you may be entitled to compensation in a civil case. As with any auto accident injury situation, reach out to a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney to learn more about your options.
Recently, the Sun-Times covered the criminal case of a Chicago police dispatcher accused of attempted murder in a road rage case. The accused, K.M., and the alleged victim, S.G., were driving down South Ashland Avenue in Chicago. K.M. allegedly tried to cut off S.G., but S.G. blocked her. A verbal argument, complete with alleged racial slurs, ensued and S.G. tossed a large cup of soda into K.M.’s car. The pair ended up in a parking lot, where the verbal dispute turned physical. As the fight escalated, K.M. pulled a gun and shot S.G. in the chest, inflicting non-fatal injuries.
In the criminal case, K.M. was not convicted because the judge determined she acted in self-defense, the Sun-Times reported. However, in addition to the criminal case, K.M. also faced a civil suit pursued by S.G. Just because K.M. won her criminal case, that outcome does not automatically dictate that S.G. cannot succeed in her claim for civil damages, which is still ongoing in the courts.
So, if you are injured by a driver fueled by road rage, what options do you have in terms of seeking compensation for the harm you suffered? One option that may be available to you is a civil lawsuit.
Your case could be somewhat different than an ordinary auto accident injury case. In most auto accident lawsuits, the injured driver or passenger alleges that the at-fault driver was negligent, meaning that the at-fault driver failed to exercise the appropriate level of care in the operation of his/her vehicle. In a road rage auto accident lawsuit, your case may allege that the liable driver engaged in intentional or reckless conduct in causing the accident that injured you. In Illinois, a driver is considered to have engaged in reckless conduct if his/her driving demonstrated a “willful and wanton disregard” for the safety of the driver or others, meaning a willful and wanton disregard for the likelihood that his/her driving would lead to an accident and harm.
One distinct advantage of a well-pled and successful road rage injury case is the type of damages you may be able to get. In an ordinary auto accident negligence case, you might expect to recover damages for things like medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. In a road rage accident case where you’ve successfully proved intentional or reckless acts, you may be able to obtain a substantial award of punitive damages on top of those other forms of damages.
Any auto accident injury lawsuit, whether a road-rage incident or just a case of ordinary negligence, can benefit from the skill and experience of a knowledgeable Illinois injury attorney. The diligent Chicago auto accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. have, for many years, been providing strong advocacy that gets results. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.
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Chicago Bartender Suffers Multiple Serious Injuries After a Collision with a CTA Bus, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Sept. 24, 2018
A Chicago Driver Receives a $4.75M Settlement After Her Collision With a Municipal Garbage Truck, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, May 10, 2018