Aggressive Driving Accidents
Whether you call it aggressive driving, road rage, or highway violence, serious and even deadly accidents can occur when angry drivers allow their emotions to control the way they operate their vehicles. If you or a person close to you has been hurt by an aggressive driver’s out-of-control behavior, you should speak to an attorney about the legal recourse that may be available to you. The Stuart car accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston are here to help you as you seek maximum compensation for your injuries.Holding a Florida Driver Accountable for Aggressive Behavior and Your Injuries
The reasons (or, more accurately, the excuses) for aggressive driving vary, as does the behavior exhibited during a road rage incident. Some of the more common ways that angry drivers show their emotions toward others include sudden acceleration or braking, weaving in and out of traffic, passing on the shoulder, blocking or cutting off other vehicles, and tailgating. Any of these behaviors can easily lead to a catastrophic motor vehicle collision, as can the distraction caused by flashing lights, using hand gestures, and blowing the horn excessively.
Although certain acts of aggressive driving may be criminal, leading to jail time or fines, the criminal justice system does little to help the injured victim of such an accident. At most, the guilty person may be ordered to pay restitution of some sort. Since restitution comes out of a defendant’s pocket, rather than from his or her insurance company, collection may be difficult. Therefore, an injured person’s stronger option is to pursue a civil lawsuit under the theory of negligence. These cases require that four elements be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that they are more likely than not to be true:
- A duty of care that the defendant owed to the victim;
- A breach of the duty, or conduct that exhibited inadequate care;
- Causation, or a link connecting to the breach to the injuries; and
- Damages, or quantifiable costs and losses that the victim sustained.
If a plaintiff is successful in proving a case of negligence against an aggressive driver, he or she may be able to receive compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, loss of future earning capacity due to a disability caused by the accident, pain and suffering, and other items. Typically, the plaintiff’s attorney will order copies of all medical reports and bills, secure documentation regarding the plaintiff’s lost wages, and obtain other evidence of losses associated with the accident.
Based on his or her prior experience in settling and trying similar cases, the attorney will contact the defendant’s insurance company with a demand for a certain sum of money that the car accident attorney serving Stuart believes will compensate the victim for his or her harm. The insurance company may reply with a counter-offer, with negotiations continuing until a settlement is reached. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case will proceed through additional discovery, litigation, and trial. Each party has an opportunity to present evidence at trial and make arguments to the jury concerning liability, damages, comparative fault, and any other issues that may be relevant. After the jury reaches a verdict, the judge enters an order of judgment in favor of the prevailing party.Consult a Car Accident Attorney in the Stuart Area
The process of investigating, negotiating, and possibly litigating a motor vehicle collision case takes patience, skill, and assertiveness. Insurance companies have a team of experts working on accident cases from the minute they get notice from their insured that a crash has happened. These professionals are well trained in avoiding liability and negotiating bottom dollar settlements. To assert your rights, you need legal guidance of your own. The Stuart car accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can guide injured people through the process of pursuing compensation for harm caused by others’ negligence, carelessness, and recklessness. We represent individuals and families in Stuart, West Palm Beach, and Jupiter, among other communities throughout St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties. Call our motor vehicle collision attorneys at (772) 266-5555 in Stuart or at (561) 299-3999 in West Palm Beach, or contact us online to set up a free consultation.