Unfortunately, road rage is a common phenomenon on New Jersey’s highways. Road rage is almost always reported as a crime, but everyone, especially the perpetrator of the incident, should remember that road rage can also carry a cause of action for significant personal injury damages. A recent road rage incident near Elizabeth, NJ, demonstrates how unrestrained road rage can fuel a number of claims for personal injury damages.
The road rage incident resulted from a 27-year-old New Jersey woman’s attempt to document the make and ownership of a car with which she had collided. The two individuals had a minor collision, after which one driver, a 56-year-old man, attempted to flee the scene. The woman who was driving the other vehicle got out of her car and attempted to photograph the car that was traveling away from the scene of the collision.
According to police, the driver of the fleeing vehicle saw the woman taking a photograph and he deliberately drove directly at her. After hitting her once, the driver then intentionally backed his vehicle over the woman.
A security camera in a nearby home captured the attempts by the instigator of the road rage to chase the woman with his car as she ran from the road to the lawn of a house facing the road. The woman appears to trip and fall, after which the defendant in the case appears to reverse his vehicle and back directly over the woman.
The woman was found by police at about 8:30 a.m. She appeared to be suffering from numerous severe injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Criminal charges and civil claims
The driver who attempted to flee the scene was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, third-degree assault by auto, third-degree leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with serious bodily injury, third-degree endangering an injured victim and third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
These are very serious criminal charges, but the defendant may also face even more serious civil charges for damages suffered by his victim. The man’s actions appear to have been intentional, and he may face a charge of negligence per se due to the intentional nature of his actions and the fact that he may be convicted of committing one or more crimes.
Anyone who has suffered injuries or lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to pursue a civil claim for damages for medical expenses, loss of income, future disability, and pain and suffering. An experienced auto accident lawyer can provide a helpful evaluation of the evidence and an opinion on the likelihood of recovering damages.