Road Rage and Motor Vehicle Accidents
Many of us have been subject to road rage, be it the honking of a horn or a few choice words aimed in our direction. But sometimes, road rage escalates to such an extent that the victim is actually injured. This is not acceptable behaviour and will pave the way for a personal injury claim.
Driver injured following road rage incident
This is exactly what happened to one of our clients. He was pursued by an angry driver for miles. When he pulled over and exited his vehicle, the other driver intentionally ran him over. He suffered long-term injuries to his shoulder. We secured a compensation settlement of $268,220 on his behalf.
Sadly, this is by no means an exceptional situation. Plenty of similar cases have been seen across the province in recent years. Sometimes an irate driver will physically assault another driver, or will cause a motor vehicle collision – whether on purpose, or because the ‘red mist’ adversely affects their driving abilities.
Cyclists injured following road rage incident
Other times, cyclists are the focus of a driver’s road rage. Motorists have been known to drive dangerously close to cyclists, or to intentionally block their path. Drivers often explain their actions by saying that a cyclist had been slowing them down, or had frustrated them by being rude or breaking a traffic rule. But this is not a defence. This was highlighted in 2015 by the British Columbia Supreme Court, which stated that:
“No matter how aggravating a cyclist’s behaviour might be…a driver of a motor vehicle can never be justified in deliberately using a motor vehicle to confront a cyclist who is riding a bike.”
“It has to be remembered that motor vehicles have four wheels, automatic brakes, seatbelts, and the driver is nicely encased in a heavy steel cage and that a person on a bicycle is not in a situation which is the least bit comparable, even if going the same speed as a vehicle. A cyclist cannot stop on a dime, is vulnerable to losing balance, and can be seriously injured or killed if he or she makes contact with a motor vehicle or falls at a high speed.”
This ruling relates to a case in which a 77-year-old man fell from his bike after a heated confrontation with a driver. The court concluded that the Defendant had acted aggressively, meaning his actions fell below the standard of care expected of a reasonable driver. Were it not for this negligence, the Plaintiff would have avoided sustaining an injury.
As this case highlights, all drivers have a duty to treat other road users with a reasonable standard of care. Anyone displaying road rage behaviour is failing to meet this duty. If this causes an accident, the irate driver will be held responsible. The injured person will then be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation. The Defendant may also face assault and/or dangerous driving charges.
Speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers
It does not matter whether you have been harmed as a driver, cyclist, pedestrian or other road user. If you have been injured as a result of a road rage incident, please contact our ICBC lawyers. We can take action to ensure you are properly compensated for your damages.Go back to Blog