Many drivers are in a hurry and are impatient with other motorists. Unfortunately, what may start as a minor annoyance can quickly turn into aggressive and dangerous behavior. Road rage causes a vast number of collisions in Florida each year, and sometimes the injuries caused by such crashes are severe or fatal. Drivers who violate their responsibility to drive safely and cause accidents due to their hostile conduct should be held accountable for the losses that they cause innocent people to suffer. Anyone hurt in a road rage accident should meet with an attorney. At The Grife Law Firm, our experienced Boca Raton car accident lawyers are mindful of the shock and devastation that can arise out of collisions caused by violent driving tactics.Florida’s Aggressive Driving Law
Florida does not have a statute that specifically outlaws road rage and its associated behavior. There is, however, a law that defines careless driving that is aggressive. Specifically, Florida Statute 316.1923 states that if a driver commits two or more enumerated acts in succession or simultaneously, it is considered aggressive.
The acts listed include going over the speed limit, improperly or unsafely changing lanes, and following too closely behind another vehicle. Passing improperly, refusing to yield the right of way, and violating traffic signals and devices are also listed as acts that may be considered aggressive. Drivers cited for aggressive driving may face more significant penalties than if they violated an ordinary traffic law.
A driver who causes an accident by driving dangerously may also be cited for reckless driving. Under Florida Statute 316.192, reckless driving is the operation of a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for other people's safety.Damages Recoverable for Road Rage Accidents
Road rage accidents often cause serious injuries that lead to pain, emotional trauma, and financial hardship. Thus, people hurt by aggressive drivers often seek damages in civil lawsuits. Generally, a plaintiff in a Florida car accident case will set forth a negligence claim against the defendant. Negligence requires proof of a duty, a breach of the duty by the defendant, and harm proximately caused by the breach. In other words, in a road rage accident case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty to drive in a safe and reasonable manner, but the defendant drove aggressively, causing the crash and the plaintiff’s harm. Since aggressive driving often involves intentional acts, a plaintiff may be able to pursue other claims against the defendant in addition to negligence.
A plaintiff who successfully demonstrates liability may be awarded damages for the cost of any medical treatment that was needed after the accident or that will be needed in the future. A jury may also grant a plaintiff who could not work after a collision the value of any lost wages. In many instances, a large portion of the plaintiff’s award will account for the emotional trauma, pain, and suffering that the plaintiff endured due to the crash.
In addition to compensation for the financial and intangible harm suffered, a plaintiff in a lawsuit arising out of a road rage accident may be granted punitive damages. Florida Statute 768.72 allows punitive damages to be awarded in cases in which the defendant engaged in intentional misconduct or was grossly negligent. A plaintiff seeking punitive damages must produce clear and convincing evidence that they are warranted.Speak With an Experienced Boca Raton Attorney
Driving aggressively is unsafe and often leads to disastrous collisions. If you were injured in an accident caused by a motorist with road rage, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer to discuss your possible claims. The car accident attorneys at The Grife Law Firm have ample experience assisting victims in the pursuit of damages. We represent injured people in car accident cases in Boca Raton, Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. You can contact us to set up a meeting by using our form online or calling 855-998-0770.