Aggression has no place on the road, but traffic, long traffic lights, and other uncontrollable issues can bring out the worst in some drivers. Aggressive drivers often take unnecessary risks and intentionally drive dangerously to get revenge for a real or imagined slight, putting everyone else on the road at risk. If you are injured by an aggressive driver, it is important to know what your next step is and protect your rights.
Alabama’s Laws Regarding Fault
Some states have no-fault insurance laws, which allow each driver to get compensation from their own insurance provider. Alabama is not one of those states, so if you are injured in a crash caused by someone else, you must file a claim with their insurance company to seek compensation.
Alabama is one of few states that uses a strict contributory negligence rule for car accident claims. If a case goes to court and a driver is found to have contributed at all to the accident, they can lose their right to any compensation. Even if they are deemed to only be 1% responsible for the crash, they could end up with nothing from the plaintiff.
Since most personal injury cases are settled out of court, contributory negligence may not be a direct factor in your case. However, car insurance companies do use this to their advantage when determining how much they are willing to pay out, and this is one of many reasons it is important to have strong legal counsel by your side advocating forcefully on your behalf.
Signs of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
Defensive driving is an essential skill when you’ve been targeted by an aggressive driver. Some drivers are always aggressive, and just being on the same road as them could put you in the line of danger. Others focus their rage on drivers who they believe drive too slow, are too close to their vehicle, or otherwise slighted them. Watch out for these habits and behaviors:
- Driving at extremely high speeds
- Ignoring traffic signs or lights
- Ignoring right of way
- Passing where it is not safe or permitted
- Erratic driving
- Driving on the median, sidewalk, or shoulder
- Cutting other drivers off and dropping their speed
If you are on the road with an aggressive driver, the most important thing to do is get away from them. Slow down, allow them to pass, and avoid any sort of communication. This includes hand gestures, mouthing words, or facial expressions. Anything you do may antagonize them further and put you in danger.
What to Do If an Aggressive Driver Hits You
Aggressive drivers are responsible for many accidents in Alabama and throughout the United States. In general, the same rules that apply to any accident apply to crashes with aggressive drivers. You should:
- Remain at the scene of the accident
- Call 911 immediately
- Check everyone in your vehicle for injuries
- Get your insurance information ready
- Take photos and gather evidence
However, if the other driver was driving aggressively or exhibiting signs of road rage, you should also:
- Remain in your car until law enforcement arrives. You do not want to get into a confrontation with the other driver.
- Communicate only with the police officers who are on the scene. Do not communicate directly with the other driver.
- Be ready to discreetly record with your cell phone. If the other driver is out of control, tries to attack you, or is confrontational with you, this evidence may be important in your case.
Seeking Damages After a Crash Caused by an Aggressive Driver
It is important to hold aggressive drivers accountable for the damage they cause. Not only does this allow you to recover expenses related to a crash, it also sets a precedent and may prevent others from behaving in similar ways in the future.
It all starts with reaching out to an attorney. It is extremely difficult to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company on your own. Thanks to Alabama’s contributory negligence rule, they may drastically reduce their settlement offer if they can pin even a tiny bit of blame on you. Remember, they are not on your side. Anything you tell them can be twisted and used to prove that you are partially liable for the crash. Instead, choose an Alabama personal injury attorney who can handle negotiations and, if necessary, take your case to court.
Damages vary widely, depending on the severity of the accident, the evidence available, and the other party’s insurance company. You may be able to seek damages for:
- Medical expenses related to the crash, including future expenses if your injuries require long-term care
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages if the crash permanently impacts your ability to work
- Adaptive equipment and medical supplies
- Pain and suffering
Reach Out to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. Now
The team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. knows just how much damage a single aggressive driver can cause. We fight aggressively on behalf of our clients to get them the compensation they deserve. Call us as soon as possible after your accident to compare your options. Fill out our online contact form to have a team member reach out to you, or call us at 800-574-4332 to get started.