Should A Victim Of Road Rage Sue For Negligence Or Intentional Tort?

As more and more people share the roads and the stresses of life build up, road rage is a rising risk. If you are injured or your vehicle is damaged by an angry driver, what kind of civil law case do you have? The facts of the case answer this question, but here's a short guide to the two types of torts you might pursue. 

1. Negligence

Perhaps the most common personal injury lawsuit involves claims of negligence. This covers a broad range of incidents that all generally have one thing in common: no one intended to purposely harm the victim. Although laws vary, negligence is proven through four key elements: the person had a duty of care, they breached that duty, you were harmed as a result, and you suffered a compensable loss. 

Road rage is usually an intentional act, but you may opt to sue for negligence instead. Why? You may have an easier time proving your case if you don't have to prove that the person intended you harm. Driving recklessly breaches the duty of care that the other driver owed to you. If there might not be enough evidence to show they meant to hit you, you can still show that they breached their duty. 

2. Intentional Tort

An intentional tort looks a lot like a crime. In fact, it may first be investigated and possibly prosecuted in criminal court. Intentional torts, as their name makes clear, are not just accidents. The person meant to harm you or your property. And because of this additional level of intent, a jury may award the victim higher financial damages. 

In road rage incidents, intentional torts may include assault (threatening acts, including those using a car), battery (physical touching or striking), trespassing or conversion (taking something without permission), false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Road rage can easily include more than one of these complaints. 

Although the acts that create an intentional tort may also be prosecuted by law enforcement, your case is independent of their findings. A conviction will certainly help your civil lawsuit, but you can still win even if the person was not convicted. The reason? There is a higher standard to reach in order to win in criminal court than in civil court.  

Where Can You Learn More?

If you've suffered a road rage incident, start building the best civil lawsuit case possible in order to protect your rights. Learn more about both negligence and intentional torts in your state. Meet with an experienced personal injury attorney today.  

For more info, contact a local accident lawyer