Aggressive driving is an inexcusable behavior that puts others at risk, often with fatal consequences. If you were injured in an accident that was caused by an aggressive driver, you have the right to claim compensation for your damages. However, a positive outcome for your case depends on your ability to demonstrate that the other driver was at fault. A car accident attorney in Houston, TX can help you build a solid case.
How Is Compensation Awarded After a Car Accident in Texas?
Texas is an at-fault state, meaning that the person who is responsible for the accident must pay for the other driver’s injuries, either out of pocket or through insurance. The legal process used to determine who was responsible for the accident relies on evidence, such as surveillance footage and witness statements. Your lawyer can help you compile evidence that is acceptable according to legal standards.
In some cases, the plaintiff can recover damages without actually going to trial. If the other driver’s insurance company makes a sizeable settlement offer, you will have the option to accept it and resolve the matter outside of court. However, even if you don’t go to trial, the insurance company will be more incentivized to give you an appropriate amount of money if they see evidence that your arguments would hold up in court.
Was Aggressive Driving the Only Cause of the Accident?
Your payout will be higher if you can demonstrate that the other driver’s aggressive behavior was the only factor that led to the crash. Otherwise, you might be held partially accountable. If two drivers share the responsibility, the court determines what percentage of blame applies to each. The driver who is found to have a higher percentage of blame pays an equal percentage of the other driver’s damages.
Having solid evidence for your case can help you prove that the primary cause of the accident was the other driver’s aggression. Ideally, you will also be able to disprove any arguments that you shared any responsibility.
How Can You Prove That the Other Driver Acted Aggressively?
Carefully documenting the accident and knowing where to look for additional evidence after you have left the scene are the keys to building strong arguments. In the case of aggressive driving, the court will look for indicators that the other driver lashed out emotionally in the moments before the crash. The following types of proof can help you demonstrate his or her fault:
Footage From a Surveillance Camera
If you can gain access to footage of the crash taking place in real time, you may be able to present a video showing the other driver making angry gestures, yelling, or driving erratically. Based on the footage, the court will use its best judgment to determine whether or not his or her behavior constituted aggressive driving.
Videos Taken With Cell Phone Cameras
When a driver starts to behave aggressively on the road, bystanders often stop to capture the incident on their smartphones. The videos they generate are usually accepted as viable evidence, allowing you to present real-time footage even if the crash did not take place in the vicinity of a surveillance camera.
Even if no video footage is available, verbal testimonies can often support claims that a driver acted aggressively. If you observed bystanders watching the crash, you should ask them for their contact numbers before you leave the accident. Your car accident attorney can arrange a time to interview them if needed.
The Police Report
Any accidents that incur personal injuries require a police report. In addition to honoring a legal obligation, reporting the accident can help you generate a valuable source of evidence. When they arrive, the authorities will note important details about the crash that could become relevant to your case.
What Else Do You Need to Prove?
Demonstrating that the other driver behaved aggressively isn’t enough to win compensation. You will need to show that you were injured as a result of the accident and that your injuries had a detrimental effect on your life. Going to the hospital as soon as you can will create an official record of your condition post-accident. After your initial visit, you and your lawyer will need to keep track of your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
In addition to the report from the ER, you should show records of any treatments you received for your injuries and any tests that were necessary to diagnose your condition. Requesting your medical records will give you access to information regarding the severity of your injuries and the costs associated with your recovery.
If your claim includes lost wages, you will need records from your employer showing your pay rate and the number of days you missed. Your lawyer may suggest that you get in touch with your HR department to obtain the necessary documentation. If you are self-employed, your previous tax records and accounting tools can be used to establish the income you had prior to the accident.
While medical bills and lost wages generally make up the bulk of a personal injury claim, other damages you may be eligible for include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyable activities
- Stress and anxiety
- Loss of consortium
The value of these damages is determined according to the seriousness of your injuries and the extent to which they interfere with your day-to-day life.
Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage
Road rage is an exaggerated form of aggressive driving that occurs when a person who is operating a vehicle knowingly breaks the law or acts violently toward others. Throwing things out of the window, using the car as a weapon, speeding, running red lights, and getting out of the car to commit assault are all examples of road rage.
Aggressive driving is considered grounds for a personal injury claim even when it does not constitute road rage. The difference between road rage and aggressive driving is that road rage can incur criminal charges. To provide proof in a case involving road rage, you should use the same types of evidence that you would turn to in order to demonstrate aggressive driving or any other grounds for an at-fault accident.
If the driver who caused your accident crossed the line between aggressive driving and road rage, you may be eligible to collect punitive damages. Punitive damages are reserved for severe cases of negligence, and they require clear-cut evidence against the defendant.
If the court orders the at-fault driver to pay punitive damages, the intent is to punish him or her for engaging in an especially dangerous type of behavior. Usually, the value of the punitive damages is calculated as a percentage of the other damages. While road rage can be harder to prove than aggressive driving, holding the other driver accountable to the fullest extent of the law can significantly increase your payout.
Build Your Case With a Car Accident Attorney in Houston, TX
No car accident is easy to deal with, but when the cause is aggressive driving, the consequences can be especially hard to bear. You have the right to hold an aggressive driver accountable for his or her loss of control. When you need to build a strong case, our attorneys in Houston, TX are there for you. Contact Houston Injury Lawyers PLLC for a free consultation.