Road rage is at an epidemic level across the U.S., and even cyclists aren’t immune to being victimized by an angry and violent driver. In May of 2019, a cyclist became a victim of road rage in Louisville. A man was riding his bike down Zoneton Road in south Louisville when he was overtaken by a utility truck which passed within a few inches of the cyclist.
The rider was startled any yelled “Hey!” at the driver who then stopped and rolled down his window. Things got a bit heated. Then the driver got out of the truck and approached the cyclist who got off his bike and squared up. The driver pulled out a gun and cocked it and put it up to the face of the cyclist who then raised his hands and backed away.
As the truck drove off, he got pictures of the truck and license plate. The driver faces charges of menacing and wanton endangerment. This incident happened with no physical injuries, but it’s an example of how a road rage injury could happen.
Each year, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, around 200 people die each year in road rage accidents. To be qualified as a road rage incidnt, it must involve an intentional crime like aggravated assault or some level of murder or voluntary manslaughter. This distinguishes road rage deaths from those caused by aggressive and risky driving.
Who Pays for Intentional Injuries?
In Kentucky, if a person harms another intentionally or through their negligence, they can be made to pay for the injuries and financial losses incurred by the victim. In most auto accidents, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay the victim.
However, insurance policies don’t cover an intentional act that led to someone’s injury or death. So, while the law can still require someone to pay for the injuries they intentionally cause, the money must come from a source separate from the person’s auto insurance policy.
Sources of Compensation for Road Rage against Cyclists
This rule deny coverage to the injured because the insured driver did something on purpose might seem harsh, but I don’t think we want to reward bad behavior like murder and assault.
So where, then, does the victim get compensation if the aggressor doesn’t have the money? Oddly enough, it actually might come from a different auto insurance policy: the victim’s.
Cyclist’s Auto Policy
I know what you’re thinking, didn’t we just say that an insurance company won’t pay for intentional bad behavior? This is still true because the funds come from the victim’s auto policy not the aggressor, and the victim didn’t cause the injuries. The only requirements are that the cyclist victim have uninsured/underinsured coverage on their policy and that there was a collision where the driver was at fault.
Do I Need an Attorney if I’m Injured by Road Rage?
In most cases it is better to get an attorney. Many times, in a road rage incident, the insurance company will tell you that they don’t cover road rage crimes, and will fail to tell you that you can use your own policy.
Also, when a person’s own policy is used, it’s a bit more complicated than simply making a claim because of the nature of a UM/UIM policy.
The best thing to do is to talk to an experienced attorney in a free consultation to get advice and a case evaluation. Even if you don’t hire the attorney, you owe it to yourself to talk to a Louisville Bicycle Accident Attorney that knows insurance law and can evaluate your specific case.