Most experienced and responsible drivers have encountered others who make the roadways more dangerous for everyone because of their actions. Maybe they are tailgating, speeding, making unsafe lane changes, regularly cutting other drivers off, or honking their horn at any car that gets in their way. When you are caught in this type of situation, it can be terrifying. Most drivers do their best to get out of their way. However, it is not always possible to do this, and often the result is a serious accident.
New York and New Jersey are No-Fault States
If you are injured in a road rage crash, note that New York and New Jersey are no-fault states, with minor differences between the two. So, you must first file a claim with your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy. However, if your injuries reach the statutory threshold of “serious,” you can file a claim against the other driver’s policy as well. An experienced car accident lawyer will be adept at handling this often complex process.
What is Road Rage?
In New York, road rage is when a driver gets into a physical altercation with another– or uses their vehicle as a weapon. For example, if another driver gets angry and suddenly and intentionally swerves their vehicle at yours—this is road rage. In contrast, New Jersey law provides a stricter and broader definition. Under Jessica’s Law, it is defined as operating an automobile “recklessly, in knowing disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property and causes injury to another person.” It is a third-degree felony and punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Steps to Take Following a Road Rage Accident
If you are a victim of a road rage crash, there are several key steps that you should take:
- Remain in your vehicle. The other driver has a problem with anger management, so for your safety, you want to maintain a buffer from them.
- Call the police and file a report. If you are seriously injured, you may need to communicate with the police at a later date, but it is still a good idea to make the call so they can assess the scene.
- If you can safely do so, document the scene with as many details as possible: your injuries, the other driver’s injuries, landmarks, road conditions, traffic conditions, weather conditions, traffic signs nearby, and any residences or businesses in the vicinity of the crash.
- If you can safely do so, try to obtain the contact information for any eyewitnesses.
- Seek medical attention. Depending on the severity of your injuries, this may be the very first step you need to take. Not only is this what is best for your health, but it is also best for your car accident claim as well. Defendants in car crash cases thrive on pointing out when plaintiffs wait too long before seeking medical attention.
- Hire an experienced attorney. The sooner you can do this, the better. They will begin investigating your case right away by contacting eyewitnesses and reaching out to businesses and residences for possible surveillance video. Hiring the right lawyer will also send a message to the insurance company that your claim needs to be taken seriously. While there are no guarantees, our car accident lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. have found that this can increase the likelihood that you receive a fair settlement offer earlier in the process.
- Do not mention anything about your accident, your injuries, or your lawsuit on social media. Do not post any updates, check-ins, pictures, or videos of yourself that may call into question the severity of your injuries. The best thing you can do is stop using it altogether during the pendency of your claim.
Contact us for a free Consultation
For more than 40 years, our personal injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. have proven that we are “big enough to do it all, small enough to care.” Through our advocacy, we have recovered millions for our clients.
If you have been a victim of a road rage accident, call our car accident attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. 24/7 to book a free case review. We will never send you a bill unless you win.