Few experiences behind the wheel are more terrifying than being on the wrong end of another driver’s road rage. While road rage may not be listed as a primary cause of Maryland car accidents, aggressive driving is more common than most motorists believe. For example, in 2015, there were approximately 3,300 Maryland car accidents caused by aggressive driving. Of those, someone was injured in over 1,200 of the crashes.
A Maryland driver can lose their temper and enter a state of road rage for any number of reasons. Even the slightest perceived infraction can send an already stressed motorist over the edge. This raises the question: who can be held liable in a Maryland road rage accident?
Aside from the enraged driver who caused the accident – who is an obvious choice – other potentially liable parties may include passengers in the at-fault driver’s car or other motorists on the road who may have contributed to the accident. A recent case illustrates that it isn’t just the person behind the wheel who can be at fault for an incident of road rage.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was involved in a traffic dispute with the defendant. The defendant, who was accompanied by his college-age grandson remained in the driver’s seat throughout the encounter. However, at some point, the defendant’s grandson exited the vehicle and punched the plaintiff in the face.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that the defendant was negligent. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant “aided and abetted” his grandson in assaulting the plaintiff.
In his negligence claim, the plaintiff argued that the defendant could have exercised control over his grandson, both because the boy was his grandson as well as because he was a passenger in the defendant’s vehicle. The court rejected this claim, however, explaining that the mere fact that the defendant could have exercised control over his grandson does not mean that the defendant had a duty to do so.
The court, however, allowed the plaintiff’s assault claim to proceed to trial. The court explained that the plaintiff needed to show the defendant took some overt act in furtherance of the assault. Here, the court explained that the plaintiff presented evidence suggesting that the defendant’s actions preceding the assault were an overt act in furtherance of the assault. Thus, the plaintiff’s intentional tort claim will proceed toward trial.
Of course, this case did not involve the defendant’s grandson. However, the plaintiff may have had an independent case against the grandson based on the assault.
Have You Been the Victim of Maryland Road Rage?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident that was caused by another motorist’s road rage, contact the dedicated Maryland injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have a proud history of standing up for the rights of accident victims across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. To learn how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation against those responsible for your injuries, call 410-654-3600 today.
More Blog Posts:
Government Liability in Maryland Car Accidents Caused by Dangerous or Poorly Maintained Roads, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 17, 2019.
Employer Liability in Maryland Auto Accidents, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 10, 2019.