Is Road Rage a Criminal Offense?

Upset man exiting a car and holding his back

We have all had bad days behind the wheel during which it seems every other vehicle on the road is trying to upset us. But we have not all taken frustrations too far and acted out in road rage. When a driver lets their anger take over and they intentionally try to scare, threaten, intimidate, or hurt another motorist while driving, they are committing road rage as it is colloquially called.

Although, road rage is not a specific criminal offense by most states’ legal definitions. That is to say, most drivers who act out with road rage and get caught in the act by a police officer will not technically be charged with “road rage” as a crime.

Instead, most states consider “road rage” as the crime of reckless driving. Depending on the severity of the raging driver’s actions, reckless driving could be a misdemeanor or a felony. Furthermore, if the reckless driving was intense enough that it could have caused someone severe bodily harm or death, then the driver might be charged with attempted vehicular assault or manslaughter, which is obviously a very serious crime.

How Does Road Rage Factor into an Injury Claim?

If you were run off the road by a driver who was acting out with road rage, then try to collect evidence of their rageful actions. Dashcam footage, smartphone video recordings, police statements, and eyewitness testimonies can all be crucial in showing that the other driver’s anger contributed to the car accident.

It is actually important to prove that the other driver committed the criminal act of reckless driving, which manifested as road rage. When you are hurt due to someone’s intentional and criminal actions, the court can approve of additional punitive damages to be paid to you as a way to punish the offender. But these damages are rarely used against a defendant who has not broken the law. Also, punitive damages are paid out of the defendant’s own finances, not covered by an insurance policy. If the court does not think the defendant can afford to pay any punitive damages, then it will not approve of them.

To learn more about how punitive damages are handled for road rage-related car accident cases in North Carolina or car accident cases in Texas, you can contact Payne Law Firm at any time. We also accept cases throughout Texas.

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