Truck accidents are traumatic enough to begin with, but when they are caused by road rage, things get taken to another level. Truck drivers shoulder a great deal of responsibility and are trusted to remain calm, no matter the circumstances. When one of them loses their temper, it could lead to a life-threatening or fatal accident.
Truck drivers can become frustrated and lose their temper just like other drivers, even though they undergo training to obtain their CDL. They also work long hours, which can make them feel fatigued, impatient, and aggressive. Heavy traffic, a passenger car driving too slowly, or another driver’s aggression can lead to a road rage incident.
Many people who survive truck accidents are transported to an emergency room for immediate treatment. If not, it is crucial to have a medical evaluation as soon as possible following an accident.
Law enforcement will arrive at the scene and get contact and insurance information from everyone involved. They will also take notes for a police report. You will want to get a copy of that, so contact the responding station and request one when possible.
If you are able to, take photos of the scene to show what happened. Pictures of the vehicles involved, injuries, weather conditions, skid marks, and traffic signs can help prove the trucker caused the accident.
Contact your insurance company to report the incident without providing any additional information that could be seen as an admission of fault. Stick to the facts, like the name of the road, the truck driver’s insurance company, and the type of crash. The details can be filled in when needed.
You can contact a truck accident lawyer before calling the insurance company. Do not wait too long to call the company or a lawyer because there are time limits for making claims. Waiting too long could affect your case.
Examples of Road Rage
It is important to give trucks enough room and to avoid being in their blind spots. If a trucker cannot see your vehicle, they will not know that you are there. Do not do anything to anger a truck driver, like passing illegally or tailgating. If one is on your tail, change lanes as soon as it is safe. A driver who shows signs of aggression could easily cross the line into an act of road rage. Here are some examples:
- Cutting off other vehicles and then slowing down.
- Forcing another vehicle off the road.
- Intentionally blocking traffic.
- Intentionally hitting another vehicle.
- Rude gestures.
- Running through red lights.
- Throwing objects at other drivers.
All of these actions are frightening and potentially deadly. Never engage with a truck driver who is behaving like this. The best advice is to get as far away as possible, pull over safely, and report the incident. When drivers are not able to do that, they can end up in a serious crash.
Proving Liability for a Truck Accident
In order to prove liability, a claimant must show that the truck driver’s negligence caused the accident. This all comes down to showing that the driver’s actions were considered to be unreasonably dangerous and that the behavior directly led to the accident. It must also be shown that the accident caused your injuries and property damage. Aggressive driving is seen as unreasonably dangerous in general, but solid proof is necessary.
If the truck driver works for a trucking company, that party might also be held liable for what happened. Truckers must be vetted before they are hired, and if the employer failed to do so, they might share the responsibility. Another scenario might be when a trucker’s driving history shows previous acts of aggression or road rage.
Since these cases can be complicated, the evidence-gathering process is more involved. An experienced truck accident lawyer will look for sources of proof in addition to information taken from the scene and your medical records. There may have been a traffic or dashboard camera that recorded what happened, or eyewitnesses who can provide testimony on your behalf. It is common for investigators to revisit truck accident scenes to search for additional evidence. Company logs can also provide insights, like a driver working longer than the legal amount of hours.
Should the case end up in court, your lawyer can work in conjunction with expert witnesses who focus on accident scene recreation, specific kinds of injuries, and other areas of expertise.
Possible Compensation for a Truck Accident
Truck accident survivors may be entitled to a settlement from a negligent truck driver and/or a trucking company through insurance. Insurance policies have limits though, so the amount offered (especially an initial one) might be too low to cover your damages. Your lawyer can work to negotiate a settlement, and this happens with many claims.
When the injuries and property damage are significant and the insurance provider will not offer a fair settlement, you may have the option of filing a lawsuit based on negligence. Although the amount of compensation varies widely, the categories for damages may include:
- Economic damages: These are costs that you owe for medical treatment, lost income/earning capacity, and costs for future treatment. Basically, these are all of your out-of-pocket costs directly related to the accident.
- Non-economic damages: These are awarded to plaintiffs to compensate them for pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are not commonly awarded, but they can be in road rage cases where extreme negligence, recklessness, and a disregard for safety are shown by a defendant.
Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Are Experienced With Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Truck Accidents
A devastating truck accident can put people in the hospital. For legal help after a truck accident, contact our Cincinnati truck accident lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office. Call us at 513-488-1135 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Loveland, Ohio, and we serve clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.