Aggressive Driving Accident Lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA
Have you been injured in an accident caused by an aggressive driver in Harrisonburg, Virginia? If so, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses such as your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. A knowledgeable car accident attorney can help you demand money for your losses and hold the aggressive driver financially accountable.
For more than 30 years, attorney David Kendall and Kendall Law Firm have stood up for the rights of those who have been injured in collisions in Harrisonburg and throughout the Shenandoah Valley. David Kendall is a native of Virginia and served proudly in the U.S. Marine Corps. Now he serves people who have been injured in serious accidents caused by others’ carelessness or disregard for safety
Call us today at (866) 590-9773 or contact us online to learn how we may help you. The initial consultation is free.
What Is Aggressive Driving?
According to Virginia law, a driver has committed an aggressive driving offense when they put another person at risk or attempt to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person by any of the following:
- Failing to drive on the right half of the highway
- Failing to remain within designated traffic lanes
- Following too closely behind another vehicle
- Failing to stop or yield the right-of-way before entering a highway
- Driving across any public or private property to evade traffic control devices
- Improperly passing or failing to maintain a safe distance when overtaking another vehicle
- Improperly passing on the right-hand side of another vehicle
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to an overtaking vehicle
- Failing to give way to certain overtaking vehicles on divided highways
- Improperly driving over the centerline of a highway to overtake or pass
- Exceeding posted speed limits or driving too fast for conditions
- Stopping on the highway in a way that impedes traffic or poses risks to others
Aggressive driving offenses are typically prosecuted as Class 2 misdemeanors in Virginia, which are punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months’ jail time. However, if there is evidence that a driver acted aggressively with the intent to injure another road user, the individual may face Class 1 misdemeanor charges. Conviction of a Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to $2,500 in fines and up to 12 months in jail.
Criminal prosecution of an aggressive driver may be warranted, depending on the facts. But a conviction will not provide you any compensation for your medical bills or losses as an accident victim.
To hold the aggressive driver financially accountable, you will need to file a separate personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit is a civil lawsuit seeking monetary compensation and is independent of any criminal charges the aggressive driver faces.
Most Common Forms of Aggressive Driving
Driving can be incredibly stressful. When drivers act on their frustrations, they risk engaging in aggressive driving or even road rage. Some common forms of aggressive driving include:
- Tailgating – Intentionally driving dangerously close behind another vehicle or following too closely for current road conditions
- Shouting – Yelling or cursing at other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians
- Gesturing – Making rude or obscene hand gestures at other road users
- Honking – Excessively sounding one’s car horn out of frustration
- Speeding and swerving – Speeding in dense traffic, weaving in and out of lanes without signaling, and running red lights or stop signs
- Brake checking – Intentionally tapping on the brakes or flashing high-beam headlights to irritate other drivers
- Obstructing – Intentionally cutting off other motorists, blocking others from changing lanes, or refusing to allow others to pass
- Pursuing – Following other drivers through traffic or exiting one’s vehicle to confront another person
- Improper passing – Recklessly crossing the centerline of a highway, driving along road shoulders, or driving into ditches or medians to pass
- Crashing – Intentionally bumping another vehicle
- Running off the road – Attempting to intimidate or harass another driver by running them off of the road
The Dangers of Aggressive Drivers
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), aggressive driving was a factor in 56 percent of fatal crashes in a recent five-year span. Excessive speed was the single most common type of aggressive driving behavior in these fatal accidents.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety surveyed drivers in a study that highlighted just how frequently dangerous and aggressive driving behaviors occur. The drivers were asked whether they had engaged in the following behaviors within 30 days prior to the survey. Here’s how they responded:
- 48 percent admitted to driving 15 mph or more above the speed limit on a freeway
- 34 percent admitted to tailgating a vehicle ahead of them to prevent another vehicle from merging in front of them
- 32 percent admitted to making rude gestures or honking unnecessarily at other drivers
- 31 percent admitted to running a red light
- 28 percent admitted to merging into a new lane even though another driver was attempting to close the gap in traffic
- 26 percent admitted to aggressively switching lanes quickly or very closely behind another vehicle
- 25 percent admitted to speeding up when another vehicle attempted to overtake and pass them
- 22 percent admitted to cutting in front of another vehicle at less than a car’s length ahead
What to Do If You are a Victim of Aggressive Driving in Harrisonburg
If you were hurt in a Harrisonburg aggressive driving accident, you can protect your rights to seek compensation by taking the following steps:
- Stop your vehicle and call 911 – Virginia law requires you to stop at the scene of an accident and report the accident to the local police. A driver who leaves the scene of an accident without stopping may face hit-and-run charges.
- Remain in your car – If the other driver was being aggressive on the road, the driver may continue to be aggressive off the road. For your own safety, you should remain in the vehicle until the police arrive.
- Seek prompt medical attention – Get medical help so that your injuries are diagnosed, treated, and added to your medical records. Be sure to follow your doctor’s care plan and attend all follow-up appointments.
- Take notes – Write down everything you can remember about the accident while it’s fresh in your mind. It’s a good idea to make notes about your daily pain levels and the ways your injuries are affecting your life in a daily journal.
- Take pictures – Take photos of the accident scene, any visible injuries, and any vehicle damage.
- Get contact information from witnesses – Talk to any vehicle occupants or eyewitnesses who saw the accident and ask them for their contact details.
- Keep track of accident-related documentation – Hang on to medical bills, pay statements, bank records, vehicle repair estimates, and any other documentation of financial losses you incur due to the accident.
- Watch what you say to others – Avoid discussing the accident or your injuries on social media and do not give a recorded statement to insurance representatives without consulting with a personal injury attorney first. Refrain from posting or sharing information on social media until your case is resolved.
- Contact an experienced automobile accident attorney – Reach out to a knowledgeable Harrisonburg car accident attorney as soon as possible for legal guidance.
Who Is Liable in an Aggressive Driving Accident?
Even though it may be obvious that the aggressive driver was at fault for the accident, you must be able to prove their liability in order to recover compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
You will likely have an easier time if the other driver was charged with an aggressive driving offense.
To prove an aggressive driver’s liability, you will need to show that the other driver was driving aggressively or they hit you on purpose. The following types of evidence can help:
- Photos of vehicle damage from the accident scene
- Video footage from outdoor security cameras, traffic cameras, or dash cams showing how the accident occurred
- Police crash reports detailing the investigating officer’s impression of the other driver and
- Toxicology test results or citations issued for traffic violations
- Statements from eyewitnesses who saw the crash
- Testimony from expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists
What Can I Be Compensated for Following an Accident with an Aggressive Driver?
Depending on the circumstances of the aggressive driving collision, you may be entitled to claim compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs for incidental expenses
- Lost wages from missed time at work
- Projected losses in future earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, and lost quality of life
- Repair or replacement costs for property damage
Contact a Harrisonburg Car Accident Lawyer Today
A Harrisonburg aggressive driving accident lawyer at Kendall Law Firm has the experience to help you seek a fair recovery. Call Kendall Law Firm today at (866) 590-9773 or fill out our online contact form to get started with your free initial case review.