If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by someone driving recklessly or aggressively in Illinois, you may be considering filing charges to recoup accident-related losses from the liable driver or their insurance company.
If this describes your situation, we understand you may be experiencing trauma, emotional harm, physical harm, or other losses. We’re here to help you explore your options for pursuing compensation for damages.
We can help you navigate Illinois law pertaining to the accident, ranging from reckless driving to aggressive reckless driving, including road rage-related incidents.
What Constitutes Road Rage?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving – labeled in its most egregious forms as road rage – can involve “gesturing in anger or yelling at another motorist, confrontation, physical assault, and even murder.”
Specifically, the NHTSA defines aggressive driving as “[t]he operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Depending on the level of offense, operating a motor vehicle in this way can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.
How Does Illinois Define Road Rage-type Accidents?
The Illinois Vehicle Code defines reckless driving as involving a person driving a vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard” for others’ safety or property. Aggravated reckless driving causes “great bodily harm or permanent disability.” Penalties for reckless driving range from Class A misdemeanors to Class 3 felonies in Illinois.
The key to proving a driver is guilty of reckless driving under Illinois law is evidence that the act was purposeful, whether it caused harm or had the potential to cause harm to another driver, a cyclist, a pedestrian, someone riding horseback, or someone driving an animal-drawn vehicle.
Examples include speeding, running a red light, blocking other drivers from entering or exiting a freeway, shouting or gesturing, following too closely, weaving through traffic, and related actions. A driver exhibiting road rage may also try to intimidate, threaten, or confront someone physically.
How Do You Know if You Have a Case Against a Reckless Driver?
If you are considering suing a driver for losses related to their reckless driving, you may be able to recover the costs associated with lost income, healthcare bills, medications, physical therapy, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages. Filing a lawsuit will likely involve negotiating with the liable insurer. You will want the support and guidance of a trusted and experienced legal consultant.
While the driver doesn’t necessarily have to be criminally charged or convicted for you to file a lawsuit, that will certainly support your case. Either way, you can file a personal lawsuit against them. This is an area we can advise you on as you build your documentation of the incident and resulting damages, whether you lost property, suffered physical injuries, or sustained emotional pain as a result of the accident.
What to Do if You Are Involved in a Road Rage Incident
First, avoid engaging with any driver acting with hostility. If you feel in danger, stay in your vehicle with your doors locked and windows up. Remain calm and refrain from interacting with the driver.
As with other types of vehicle accident, when it is safe, be sure to:
- pull aside to a safe location
- determine whether you or your passengers may have injuries
- dial 911 to report the crash
- document the details with photos or videos
- explain what happened to police on the scene
- seek medical care if you need it
- report the accident to your insurance company
In addition, the Illinois State Police advises that you:
- “file a crash report if the crash caused a death, bodily injury, or more than $1,500 of property damage when all drivers are insured”
- file a report with the Illinois State Police within 10 days if police do not arrive on scene
- contact ISP District 15 at (630) 241-6800 If the collision took place on an Illinois Tollway
The Cullotta Bravo Law Firm is Here to Help You Determine Your Legal Options
If you or someone you love has been involved in a road rage accident, the attorneys at Cullotta Bravo Law Group can help. We’ll help you determine the best course of action for your situation. To schedule a free
consultation, call us today at 630-898-7800, or contact us online for more information.