Driving can be a source of stress in people’s lives, not only because it is a time constraint, but also because many drivers act recklessly and aggressively towards others on the road. Aggressive driving can encompass many things, from excessive speeding and dangerous lane changes to yelling obscenities and physically threatening other drivers.
There were roughly 5,500 injury car crashes and 51 fatal car accidents in Columbus in 2012, according to an Ohio Department of Public Safety report. It also breaks down probable causes of accidents, many of which include aggressive behaviors like unsafe speed (12.1 percent of fatal accidents), improper lane changing or passing (12.2 percent), and running red lights (2.4 percent of fatal accidents), to name a few. While law enforcement and state officials take action to curb aggressive driving, it is still a major problem across Ohio.
Legal Options for Aggressive Driving Accident Victims
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Ohio law considers operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property” a minor misdemeanor (Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 4511.20). State police often target aggressive and reckless driving, and in aggressive driving civil cases, Ohio’s law criminalizing reckless driving can help plaintiffs recover from defendants for their injuries.
The four basic elements of a personal injury case are:
- a duty of care between the parties;
- a breach of that duty by the defendant;
- the breach caused an injury to the plaintiff; and
- the injury to the plaintiff results in damages to the plaintiff.
When defendants engage in criminal behavior, however, like reckless driving, they may be per se negligent, meaning they are liable because they broke the law. Thus, collecting the police report to demonstrate a citation for reckless driving can be helpful for victims of aggressive drivers.
Plaintiffs can collect both economic and non-economic damages if they win their aggressive driving personal injury claims. Economic damages include lost wages, medical bills and property damages incurred as a result of the accident, while non-economic damages include damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress.
What to Do After an Accident Caused By Aggressive Driving
One of the best things you can do after an accident is to document any expenses you have, like medical bills and car repair invoices. The other driver’s insurance company may contact you immediately after the accident and ask you questions in an attempt to get you to admit fault in the accident or understate your injuries. It can be in your interest to speak with a lawyer immediately after the accident. A lawyer can handle any paperwork for your accident and communicate with the other driver or the insurance companies.
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David Bressman understands how to get responsible drivers in Columbus fair compensation for their damages after they are injured by reckless or careless drivers. Call our offices at (614) 538-1116 to schedule a free consultation at Bressman Law or complete our online contact form.