Is There a Difference Between Reckless Driving and Road Rage?

What started as an argument between two drivers ended with one passenger in the hospital fighting for his life.

Around 2:30 a.m. on a Monday morning in June, two cars were in a McDonald’s drive-thru lane when one of the drivers left his vehicle and began banging on the window of another car. The driver and passenger of that car also got out, and the following confrontation quickly escalated into a fight.

The two men soon left the McDonald’s and headed back to their apartment complex, located about a block away in the 3700 block of Avocado Boulevard. The details are murky as to what happened next, but one of the two men was crushed by a car, which pinned him against his garage.

The victim was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital and put on life support. Police are still searching for the man who initiated the confrontation to determine his role in the man’s injuries.

Details are extremely important in any personal injury lawsuit. Below, attorney Bonnici Law Group explains why the right research could help your case.

Did Road Rage Cause My Accident?

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, but if the first driver followed the victims home, the incident escalates from reckless driving to “road rage.” In California, “road rage” is defined as an individual committing a combination of moving traffic offenses intended to endanger another person or their property.

In California, suspected road rage drivers can be charged with “extremely aggressive driving.” If the incident leads to injury or death, the offending driver could face charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon.

By acknowledging a level of intent, this possible accident becomes a criminal act. If the injured man dies, the assailant could be charged with second-degree murder under a legal theory known as “implied malice.”

California’s definition of “implied malice” applies to cases where a perpetrator kills someone in the process of “caus[ing] serious injury or act[ing] recklessly.” The drivers may have shared liability in the initial confrontation at McDonald’s, but by pursuing them back to their residence, the driver went out of his way to inflict serious bodily injury on the passenger.

Hit-and-run drivers are notoriously difficult to prosecute after the fact. Critical information, like alcohol involvement and intent, can be challenging to prove after the fact, and victims are often in no shape to defend themselves.

If police are unable to prosecute a dangerous driver, a civil lawsuit could help you hold them accountable. There may not be enough evidence for a criminal trial, but reckless drivers are still eligible to be sued in civil court for wrongful death or personal injury.

If a driver exhibiting road rage injured you or your loved one, call Bonnici Law Group today. Reckless drivers should know that their behavior has consequences.

[Did You Know: Over a seven-year period, 218 murders and 12,610 injuries were attributed to road rage.]

Bonnici Law Group, APC – San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys