Most motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey result from unintentional crashes, and the majority of claims for wrongful death and personal injury are based on the legal theory of negligence. However, not all personal injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence, but by the intentional acts of another individual. In this type of case, a person who caused the injuries can be held legally liable both criminally and civilly.
On Sept. 20, a 22-year-old motorcyclist was injured after his Harley-Davidson motorcycle was struck by a car near the intersection of Sandhill and Emerald roads after getting into an argument with the car driver. Police said the rider was traveling on Route 1 near Sandhill Road when he thought the car was following too closely behind his motorcycle. After motioning for her to back off, the car passed the bike and skimmed its saddle bag.
Witnesses said it appeared that the car was chasing the bike down Sandhill Road as the two passed other vehicles in double yellow lines. The motorcycle was attempting to turn onto Emerald Road when the car struck the bike from behind, ejecting the biker. The biker was taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The car driver was charged with third-degree aggravated assault.
In typical negligence claims, the defendants are alleged to have failed to exercise the proper degree of care or failed to act as a reasonable person would have acted under a similar situation. A compensation claim arising from injuries that were intentionally inflicted is filed under intentional torts. This type of case is a civil court proceeding in which the alleged at-fault party pays damages to the injured party. Often, the perpetrator becomes a defendant of criminal and civil proceedings.
New Jersey has imposed harsh penalties for aggressive drivers through the “Road Rage” law or “Jessica’s Law,” in honor of a victim seriously injured in an anger-driven car crash. Injured victims in intentional tort cases may be awarded with economic damages, non-economic damages, and even punitive damages to punish wrongdoers in some cases.
Proving allegations of road rage can be very challenging because this action may indicate many driving practices that are not anger-driven, such as reckless driving, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, erratic driving, and tailgating.